Publicis Groupe acquires iStrat and MarketGate

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | December 07, 2012
iStrat will be rebranded as Publicis iStrat and will operate as a unit within Publicis Modem, the global digital network from the house of Publicis Worldwide. MarketGate, on the other hand, will retain its name.

Continuing its aggressive acquisition spree in India, The Publicis Groupe has announced the acquisition of two more independent outfits -- iStrat, a Delhi-headquartered integrated digital agency and MarketGate, a Mumbai-based strategic business and marketing consulting firm. The latter also includes MarketGate Dimensions, a subsidiary of MarketGate, providing research-based solutions to business, marketing and brand issues, with offices in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru.

Jean-Yves Naouri

Nakul Chopra

iStrat will be rebranded Publicis iStrat and will operate as a unit within Publicis Modem, the global digital network from the house of Publicis Worldwide. The founders of iStrat, Navneet Singh Sahni and Sonya Sahni, will continue to lead the agency.

MarketGate will retain its name and will operate as a unit within Publicis Worldwide. It will continue to be led by its founders, Shripad Nadkarni and Sharda Agarwal.

All the four leaders will now report to Nakul Chopra, chief executive officer, South Asia, Publicis Worldwide.

These acquisitions, claims the media giant, mark yet another step towards reaching its target of doubling its size in India between 2010 and 2015.

In an interview with afaqs! earlier this year, Jean-Yves Naouri, chief operating officer and member of the management board of the Publicis Groupe, and executive chairman of Publicis Worldwide, had said, "India is definitely no longer an emerging market. It is a fast-growing market."

Addressing the current development, he now conveys in a press note, "Building digital capabilities is a fundamental part of the Publicis strategy and today's acquisition of iStrat is a key step towards realising our growth goals. In addition, MarketGate is a fast-moving strategic outfit with strong skill-sets, an impressive range of clients and thorough knowledge of the Indian market and its consumers."

Publicis' Chopra adds, "Building digital capabilities is fundamental to the Publicis strategy. We expect iStrat to play a lead role in taking Publicis forward in India. The acquisition of MarketGate underpins both our commitment to this market and our clients' needs."

For the record, iStrat was founded in 2003 and provides solutions across all forms of digital marketing. The agency's clientele includes names such as Alpha G:Corp, the Confederation of Indian Industries, Dupont, Hero Corp, Hindware, Maruti Suzuki, the NASSCOM software trade association and Nestlé. The agency, that currently employs a team of 50, provides digital communications services including e-commerce store fronts, search engine optimisation, social media and rich media.

MarketGate was founded in 2005 and offers services in business growth planning, marketing strategy, brand positioning, portfolio strategy, brand architecture development and marketing skills development. The agency currently comprises seven consulting experts. The firm's clientele includes brands such as Colgate, Dabur, General Motors, GlaxoSmithKline, Godrej, HSBC, ICICI, Madura Garments, Mahindra & Mahindra, MTR, Radio Mirchi and Viacom.

The clientele of MarketGate Dimensions includes brands such as Glenmark, Kellogg's, Maruti Suzuki, The Walt Disney Company and Viacom18.

Recently, Publicis has made several acquisitions in this market, ones that Naouri refers to as "a number of smart, bold moves in India"; they include buying out BBH (a global move that included India) and acquiring a number of independent outfits including digital agency Indigo Consulting, Watermelon Healthcare Communications and digital marketing agency, Resultrix.

"We're going to continue doing so," Naouri declares, referring to more acquisitions in India in the days ahead.

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