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OMD to set up shop in India with Jasmin Sohrabji as Managing Director

07-February-2007
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OMD to set up shop in India with Jasmin Sohrabji as Managing Director

Omnicom has been very serious about its business in India and following the efforts seen in the PR segment, the big one comes in the media domain with Omnicom’s decision to launch OMD in India -- independently. Coming in at the helm of affairs is former Mediacom President Jasmin Sohrabji as Managing Director. The new entity is expected to take form in March 2007.

Speculation is rife about Harish Shriyan too is joining Sohrabji at Omnicom. However, at the time of filing the story, Shriyan denied this.

OMD is the media arm of Omnicom. Across the world, OMD has equal presence through TBWA, BBDO and DDB. Given the OMD structure the world over, India, at present, will be a unique case.

Omnicom’s plans for India were made clear when Michael Birkin, Vice-Chairman, Omnicom Group, and Omnicom’s Asia Pacific CEO, visited the market in September 2005. The company has been since then looking at mergers and acquisitions to strengthen its presence in India in comparison to rivals like WPP and IPG.

Initiatives have already been seen in the strategic communications segment with Brodeur India launched in India in February 2006, merging with TBWA\India PR. Following this, in July 2006, Omnicom Group Inc. entered into an agreement to acquire a majority ownership interest in Gotocustomer Services India through its Diversified Agency Services group.

Then, in 2006, Omnicom appointed Keki Dadiseth as Non-Executive Chairman of the Group in India. Dadiseth has been working with Birkin for developing and implementing the strategy for Omnicom’s expansion in India.

The plan for an agency in the media segment has been on since 2005. One of the first routes were talks with Omnicom agencies in India – TBWA\India (where Omnicom as a 51 per cent stake), RK Swamy\BBDO (where Omnicom has a 50 per cent stake) and Mudra (where Omnicom has a 10 per cent stake). Not much was decided on this count in regards to how the equations should work out.

Following this, Omnicom was eyeing acquisitions and one of the players it spoke to was Madison Communications. With the deals not working out there as well, Omnicom has now decided to launch OMD independently in India.

This would not mean that OMD is likely to compete with agencies like TBWA\India or RK Swamy BBDO. A priority in Omnicom’s India agenda is to chalk out a working relationship between OMD and the other Omnicom agencies in India.

Till now Omnicom was serving its clients in India through its agencies here.

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