Publicis Groupe has announced the acquisition of two agencies in India – iStrat, one of the country’s foremost integrated digital agencies, as well as MarketGate, a Mumbai-based strategic business and marketing consulting firm. These acquisitions mark another step towards fulfilling Publicis Groupe’s goal of doubling its size in India between 2010 and 2015, part of the Groupe’s commitment to strongly boosting revenue derived from digital and fast-growing markets around the world.
Commenting on the acquisitions, Nakul Chopra, CEO - South Asia, Publicis Worldwide said, “Building digital capabilities at the heart of our agency is fundamental to the Publicis strategy. iStrat is a perfect strategic fit for our vision – both from a perspective of their excellent capability and culture. We expect them to play a lead role in taking Publicis forward in India.”
He further said, “The acquisition of MarketGate underpins both our commitment to this market and our clients’ needs. MarketGate will add a potent upstream capability that will benefit both Publicis and our clients immensely.”
iStrat was founded in 2003 and provides solutions across all forms of digital marketing. The agency services a broad range of clients, including Alpha G:Corp (real estate), the Confederation of Indian Industries, Dupont (luxury accessories), Hero Corp (motorcycles), Hindware (kitchen and sanitary appliances), Maruti Suzuki, Nasscom software trade association, and Nestlé. The agency, which is headquartered in Delhi and employs a team of 50, provides the full range of digital communications services, including e-commerce store fronts, search engine optimization, social media, and rich media.
“We are excited to become a part of the Publicis Worldwide network, and we look forward to tapping into its global best practices,” said iStrat Co-founders Navneet Singh Sahni and Sonya Sahni. “Today’s deal will offer richer, more diversified possibilities to both our clients and our teams. Our experience in India’s digital space, together with Publicis’ considerable know-how in brand building, will create an incredibly powerful offering for both current and future clients.”
MarketGate, which was founded in 2005, delivers services in business growth planning, marketing strategy, brand positioning, portfolio strategy, brand architecture development, and marketing skills development. The agency’s seven consulting experts aim to rejuvenate brands and power their growth by deploying marketing processes throughout their clients’ organisations. Clients include Colgate, Dabur (foods/ personal care), General Motors, GlaxoSmithKline, Godrej (personal care), HSBC, ICICI (financial services/ banking), Madura Garments (fashion), Mahindra & Mahindra (automobile), MTR (foods), and Radio Mirchi Viacom.
As part of this acquisition Publicis Groupe will also acquire MarketGate Dimensions, a subsidiary providing research-based solutions to business, marketing and brand issues, with offices in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. Its client list includes Glenmark (personal care), Kellogg’s, Maruti Suzuki, The Walt Disney Company and Viacom 18.
“This is a very exciting move for all of us at MarketGate,” said Shripad Nadkarni and Sharda Agarwal. “Twinning the world-class expertise of Publicis Groupe with our extensive experience of marketing and consultancy across all sectors in India will make for a very powerful combination.”
India is currently the world’s 16th largest advertising market, and although the country’s economic growth has slowed somewhat in 2012, it remains over 5 per cent. ZenithOptimedia forecasts (December 2012) advertising expenditure to increase by 7.7 per cent in India in 2013.