Publicis Groupe has signed an agreement to acquire a majority stake in communications agency and technology communications leader 20:20 Media, and India’s first social media consulting firm, 2020Social. Subject to the approval of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), the acquired entities will become part of MS&LGroup, Publicis Groupe’s flagship PR and events network.
Founded in 1989, 20:20 Media is recognised as one of India’s leading public relations firms overall and remains the leader in technology communications. 20:20 Media employs more than 140 staff across its offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune. In 2009, 20:20 Media was selected as the India PR agency of the Year at the Indy’s Awards.
In addition to the rich capabilities of 20:20 MEDIA, the acquisition of 2020Social gives MS&LGroup clients access to India’s first social media consulting firm. 2020Social was founded in 2009 and focuses on strategy and advisory services for C-suite executives, marketers and PR directors, and provides technology development, campaign management and evaluation.
20:20 Media and 2020Social will each operate independently alongside MS&LGroup’s existing multi-discipline communications agency in India, Hanmer MS&L, which as more than 400 staff across eight offices.
The three agency operations will be united under the common MS&LGroup India brand and comprise the largest, most-awarded, and specialised PR and social media network in the country. The operations of each agency remain independent as distinct business units, but will be directed by a common India business strategy and management board. This board will be chaired by MS&LGroup Asia President Glenn Osaki, and other members will include Sunil Gautam and Jaideep Shergill, representing Hanmer MS&L; Sunil Agarwal and Chetan Mahajan, representing 20:20 Media and 2020Social; as well as other representatives from MS&LGroup.
With a combined staff across the three business units of more than 550 employees, 16 owned offices and an activation network reaching 125 additional cities across the country, MS&LGroup India holds an unrivalled leadership position in India’s fast-growing PR, events and social media industry.
Commenting on the acquisitions, Olivier Fleurot, Global CEO, MS&LGroup, remarked, “As one of the key engines of global economic growth, our enthusiasm for investing in India has never been greater. These two acquisitions give us unrivalled strength in terms of scale, specialist expertise and talent. MS&LGroup is in the best position to provide emerging global Indian brands and leading multinationals investing in India with a full range of services that are truly best-in-class.”
Sunil Agarwal, Managing Director of 20:20 Media and 2020Social, member of MS&LGroup India Management Board, commented, “By joining an international network, we will benefit from access to insights, experts and training, and further strengthen our value to clients. But more than anything, joining the Publicis Groupe and MS&LGroup family is about a shared vision and culture of nurturing great people and delivering value to clients.”
Glenn Osaki, President of MS&LGroup Asia and Chair of the MS&LGroup India Management Board, added here, “Today’s moves mark an important milestone in our long-term strategy of leading in the India marketplace as the specialist communications powerhouse. As the sophistication of PR, social media and communications in general continue to develop in India, clients are requiring more strategic and specialised services combined with national reach and resources. We will remain focused on investing in India in the years to come in order to best serve both global and Indian clients.”