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: Lintas India to integrate fully with IPG Worldwide; to transfer 51 per cent shares to IPG

09-May-2007
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: Lintas India to integrate fully with IPG Worldwide; to transfer 51 per cent shares to IPG

Lintas India Pvt. Ltd is soon to become a wholly integrated entity of the Interpublic Group of Companies (IPG). As is known, IPG had a 49 per cent stake in Lintas India. The rest was held by 12 Lintas Employees Welfare Trusts. Late last year, IPG had requested Lintas India to transfer the balance 51 per cent shares also to IPG Worldwide. This would mean the complete integration of Lintas India in the IPG/Lowe Worldwide system.

The Board of Lintas India has finally agreed to this request. The integration is now subject to Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval. Ambit Corporate Finance advised IPG, while DSP Merrill Lynch advised the Indian shareholders of Lintas India.

When quested on the implications of this development on the Lintas India management, Prem Mehta, Chairman and Managing Director, Lintas India, said, “As and when this happens, there is no plan whatsoever for a change in the management or the structure of the company or any of its units.”

Why did the Board agree to this request? Mehta replied, “In the new world, where your clients are operating in a matrix structure and the brand needs to be serviced across boundaries, the systems of all ad agencies must also respond to these kinds of processes. Then it becomes necessary to be closely integrated at an international level.”

He further explained that in India, Lintas has built its presence in the integrated communication areas, a point that Tony Wright, CEO, Lowe Worldwide, asserted on in his visit to India; and that each of these businesses presented an opportunity that is linked closely with IPG properties and also allowed Indian officials to contribute to the global system.

He said, “The environment change and the need to upgrade the integrated communications areas really are the reasons for this decision.”

Mehta reiterated that there is no reason to believe that this would lead to any significant change in the company and its structure. He explained, “Lintas India is already a model unit for IPG all over the world.”

On how have the employees and senior members of Lintas India have reacted to this decision, he replied, “My senior colleagues have been aware and have participated in this decision, and therefore we all know that this is the right decision.”

With Lowe India as its flagship agency, Lintas India has two completely independent advertising companies --- SSC&B Lintas and Q:uadrant. The group also has media brands like Initiative, Insight, Interactions, Intellect and Media Futures under the Lintas Media Group. In the through-the-line area, Lintas’ businesses include Lintas Personal, Linterland, LinOpinion, Advent, Lintertainment, Lintas Healthcare, dCell and Aaren Initiative.

The group services nearly 200 clients, including some of India’s largest and most professional marketing companies like Hindustan Unilever, ITC, Johnson & Johnson, IDEA, Maruti, LG, Tata, Nestle, Britannia, Bajaj Auto, Titan Industries, MRF, ICICI Prudential and Berger Paints, among others.

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