Ketchum, one of the world’s largest global public relations consultancies, has acquired a majority stake in Sampark PR. This move, which follows recent acquisitions in Greater China and Russia, further expands the agency’s global reach and advances its client service offering in markets with rapidly growing demand for communications services.
Sampark PR was founded in 1994 by Bela Rajan and NS Rajan, who, as Director and Managing Director, will continue to lead the India business and will retain a significant holding in the agency going forward. It will henceforth operate as Ketchum Sampark.
Commenting on the development, NS Rajan, Managing Director, Sampark PR, said, “We are very excited about the parternership, which will give us an edge in terms of understanding the country as well as the international market. Ketchum has an international footprint and we believe we understand India well. So, I think it will be a hugely successful partnership. The other thing is that culturally and philosophically, there is a lot of similarity between how Ketchum operates and how we operate, we completely believe in client delivery.”
Ray Kotcher, Senior Partner and CEO, Ketchum, added here, “Today marks another important milestone for Ketchum as we continue to implement our global vision of providing consistently excellent communications service to our clients in the key business and communications markets where they operate. It did take us a while to come to a final decision as to the acquisition, as it is said that a wine is as good as old, and so we are happy to be one of the late entrants since we are sure of what we are doing.”
Ketchum Senior Partner and CEO of International Operations, Jon Higgins, remarked, “India occupies a powerful place in the world economy today. With Sampark, Ketchum has acquired one of the most respected PR businesses in India. Ketchum has worked closely with Sampark’s leadership team for some time now, and we have tremendous respect for their people and business. We are eager to put our enhanced partnership on a path of even greater possibility for our clients.”
This partnership will expand Ketchum’s presence in South Asia, complementing the firm’s strong network in the Asia-Pacific region, which includes Greater China, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand. Other noteworthy progress in developing the firm’s geographic client service strategy includes the 2010 completion of its merger with Pleon to form Ketchum Pleon in Europe. In addition, Ketchum established a joint venture in the Middle East and North Africa, called Ketchum Raad Middle East, and a new exclusive affiliate relationship in South Korea with local market leader Prain.
Sampark PR has offices in Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad, and a network of 80 associate offices that extends throughout the country’s 25 states, providing greater inroads into India for Ketchum’s roster of international client businesses and global brands.
The partnership comes at an opportune time, as a recent study carried out by Assocham underscored the significant expansion of the public relations industry in India, which is growing 32 per cent annually, measured against the acceleration of between 22 per cent and 25 per cent witnessed during the last few years.