Publicis will double its size in India by 2014, says Maurice Levy, CEO, Publicis Groupe

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | December 20, 2013
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On his visit to India after a span of two years, Levy spoke about the importance of the Indian market and about the much talked about Publicis-Omnicom merger.

There was no fixed agenda or any announcements yet Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy kept the pace alive at a media interaction on Thursday in Mumbai. Levy was in town to check on the agency's Indian arms; this visit comes after a gap of about two years.

Maurice Levy

Tackling the most obvious question, that of the Publicis- Omnicom merger, Levy stated that the two companies were waiting to get the last three authorisations from European Union, Columbia and China. However, he dodged questions regarding the nitty-gritty of the deal or its possible impact on the Indian market. "As long as we haven't received all authorisations, both Publicis and Omnicom are clear competitors. So currently, we are competitors, which is ridiculous because we will become one family soon. But it is a legal rule. Therefore, we haven't been able to sit and discuss how we will tackle each market," Levy said. However, he believes that the full merger might take place by the second quarter of 2014.

He also stated that appointing an India head was a possibility; the two companies hadn't discussed about it as they were waiting for all the authorisations to come through.

Since 2006, Publicis Groupe has been steadily focusing on its two development pillars, namely digital and emerging markets. Today, the company has grown at an accelerated pace in Brazil, has already doubled in size in China and will double its size in India by next year. In fact, the growth rate is such that the emerging markets comprise roughly 25 per cent of the company's revenue share, which it wants to grow by 35 per cent by 2017. "After the merged operations, we will have doubled the current size in all these markets," Levy stated.

Levy also stressed how important the Indian market was to the company. According to him, India was one of the strategic markets for the Publicis Groupe with a lot of potential, where it wanted to invest and was investing. Considering that the World Bank has predicted that India will have the largest middle class market by 2030, before China, makes it a good investment choice. In addition to this, the Indian market is filled with great knowledge of digital and IT. However, the digital growth is paradoxical. Despite so much of knowledge in the field, the digital penetration in the country is one of the lowest. However, there also lies the potential, he added.

Speaking on WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell's comments on the Publicis-Omnicom merger, "Personally, I like to comment on something I know well. I know my company well and focus on it, which leaves me with very little time to talk about the competition or worry about what they have to say," Levy quipped.

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