In a media scene dominated with proliferation of media offerings, consolidations do seem to be the logical route forward. Not that India has already reached that stage, but mergers and acquisitions are not new to the India market. Media conglomerates like Omnicom have made it clear that one way they see growth in the country is via acquisition. The Publicis group has seen some action, too, in this context when it acquired Solutions here. Now Tom Bernardin, CEO and Chairman, Leo Burnett Worldwide, reiterates that the hunt is still on.
Bernardin said, “I think you will see more of both merger and acquisition in India. One of the recent acquisitions we have done was of Solutions and it is an important one for the group as it gives us a whole lot of access in the holistic marketing area. We are always looking for acquisitions to bolster our offering and augment our position here in India. We were always aware of such opportunities in the Indian market and would pursue when we find something interesting ourselves.”
Speaking more specifically on what interests Leo Burnett India, he said, “From the creative agency standpoint, we are very pleased with the operations that we have here, so we are clearly not looking at those kinds of entities. The focus now it is going to be more of non-traditional – branded entertainment, PR, below the line – those kinds of areas.”
Post the launch of Arc, which is already a year old in the country, Leo Burnett has not begun any unit of its own in these areas based on the belief that Leo Burnett India probably has most of the units that are in any case seen in a full-fledged agency. However, this hasn’t constrained the agency in keeping its eye open to acquire units operating in all kinds of new media to attain further growth in the country.