Decisions at the global level continue to make ripples in the Indian media landscape. With WPP agreeing to merge WPP's current outdoor specialist, Portland Outdoor Limited with Poster Publicity in order to create a global outdoor media buying and planning business, the Indian operations is set to see some changes as well.
Even as this merger is conditional to regulatory approvals, Ashutosh Srivastava, CEO, GroupM, India and South Asia, said that the processes will take a period of six months. "There wouldn't be much change seen presently. As there is no Poster Publicity, this wouldn't even imply any additional client, though we don't know how the situation changes in the future," he said.
He explains that the development is a fall out of the Grey buyout in India. Even as Portland was in effect operating with GroupM, the organisation was in JWT's management. With this merger, as will be the case internationally, the new entity would be managed by GroupM and Arminio Ribeiro, the current President of Portland India, will continue to head the entity.
At the global level, the new company, whose name will be announced separately, will be headed by Eric Newnham as CEO, with other key management posts being taken up by the key managers of Poster Publicity and Portland. The new company will employ over 300 professionals. Srivastava explains that the basic objective of this process would be consolidation of the outdoor business and hence encashing in the resulting benefits.
WPP's collective media investment management operations, GroupM, will transfer its outdoor business and professionals into the new venture, resulting in a leading global outdoor specialist business with offices in over 35 countries, including the UK and the US.
Portland's net revenues as at December 31, 2003 were £10.5 million, with net assets of £8.1 million as at that date. Poster Publicity's net revenues as at 30 June 2004 were £10.4 million, with net assets of £8.1 million at that date. Portland's gross billings as at 31 December 2003 were £148.4 million and Poster Publicity's billings as at 30 June 2004 were £199.8 million.