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Saatchi & Saatchi’s India partners offer to sell stake in agency to Publicis

17-July-2007
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Saatchi & Saatchi’s India partners offer to sell stake in agency to Publicis

Where media conglomerates across the globe are eyeing India and investing significant funds in the market, the Publicis Groupe has received a proposal by the Indian partners of its creative brand Saatchi & Saatchi, offering it complete takeover of the agency.

The development might not alter Publicis Groupe’s operations in India as it already owns 80 per cent of the agency. However, it would mean that the Groupe would own 100 per cent stake following this development, which could make way for more opportunities for Publicis.

When quested on the matter, Saatchi & Saatchi’s V Shantakumar chose to first clarify what was reported on this development by a section of the media on July 16, 2007. He said, “Contrary to the news report on July 16, 2007 morning, it is not true that Publicis Groupe ‘had’ to purchase our shares because there was a deadline of some sort, or that it was in the footsteps of some other groups’ actions in India.”

He further said, “S Ghosh and I, who own 20 per cent of the Indian company, had chosen to exercise our option as per our long-standing shareholder’s agreement to offer our shares to Publicis Groupe for purchase. I had not wished to comment on this because this is still in progress; but since today’s news report in the Economic Times has misinterpreted the situation, I am forced to clarify.”

He divulged that the Publicis Groupe had to now revert with their agreement on this offer; post this there will be a formal application to the FIPB for their approval.

On the reasons behind this decision, Shantakumar said, “This is purely personal; we will both continue to be employed by Saatchi & Saatchi in our present roles for the foreseeable future.”

He reiterated that this would not affect Saatchi & Saatchi’s presence in India. He said, “As it is, Publicis Groupe controls all the subsidiaries it has invested in through majority shareholding. In Saatchi & Saatchi, they already had an 80 per cent stake and as employees of the company, both Ghosh and I endeavour to further the corporate aims of the Saatchi & Saatchi brand and of the Groupe.”

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