The latest development of Publicis Groupe acquiring 51 per cent shares of Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) Network didn’t come as surprise as the Groupe already held 49 per cent stake in the company for last 10 years. Publicis has acquired BBH from its Founders Nigel Bogle and Sir John Hegarty and their partners, bringing the Groupe’s ownership to 100 per cent now.
The group has also acquired 100 per cent of the shares of NEOGAMA/BBH in Brazil (34 per cent from BBH and 66 per cent from its Founder, Alexandre Gama and his partners).
Talking to exchange4media about the new development and the impact that it will create in India, Subhash Kamath, Managing Partner, BBH India said, “Everything will remain the same; there won't be any structural changes in India. BBH India will continue to report to BBH Global. We are glad to be now completely associated with Publicis Groupe because this will now help us grow bigger and better as a brand.”
A report in Ad Age said that it’s unclear what this means for BBH's Unilever relationship and how it will jibe with Publicis Groupe's broader relationship with Procter & Gamble because when Publicis bought a 49 per cent stake in BBH, there was a potential conflict between Procter & Gamble at Publicis Network’s Saatchi and Saatchi and Leo Burnett, and BBH's major international client Unilever, but Publicis's minority stake made handling both marketers less of an issue. Kamath clarified this, “We are an independent network and our relationship with our clients will not be affected with this development.”
BBH India early this year went through significant structural changes. Raj Kamble quit as Managing Partner and Russell Barrett, who joined BBH India in April 2010 as Executive Creative Director, was brought on board with managing partners Subhash Kamath and Partha Sinha in leading the India operations. In the past year, Barrett has led the team to create many talked about campaigns for diverse clients such as Google Chrome, TVS Wego, World Gold Council and VAT 69, among others.