afaqs!

Aegis consolidates India operations through merger

By , agencyfaqs! | In | December 18, 2003
The new entity, Carat India, is a joint venture between majority shareholder Aegis, and Harindra and Shailendra Singh of the Percept group of companies


Carat Media and Carat Integra have completed the merger to form a single, stronger entity "aiming to translate the merger into real benefits for its clients". This brings to fruition a process started by the group in August as reported by agencyfaqs! (Major restructuring at Carat in the pipeline; Aegis Media to enter India, August 12, 2003).

The new entity, Carat India, is a joint venture between majority shareholder Aegis, and Harindra and Shailendra Singh of the Percept group of companies. Company officials declined to specify the equity holding of Aegis and the Percept group of companies in the merged entity.

Speaking on the development, Kim Walker, chief operating officer, Carat Asia Pacific, says, "We have emerged from an unfortunate situation we discovered in the early part of this year, to become a stronger, more democratic, more responsive and more cohesive operation that better represents the global Carat values."

Under the new arrangement, Sulina Menon becomes CEO, Carat, North and East (she would be based in Delhi), while Shripad Kulkani becomes CEO, Carat, South and West (he would function from Mumbai).

In addition to the reorganisation at the top, Walker announced the appointment of Pradeep Iyengar, who joined Carat India earlier this year, as national buying director. "This role is crucial to ensuring we realise the best possible value delivery for clients through the combined billings of our operations," concurs Menon and Kulkani.

Looks like Carat India is finally getting its act together. The media agency lost the prestigious Asian Paints and Cadbury media businesses worth Rs 35-40 crore earlier this year, and its first CEO Meenakshi Madhvani, who resigned to start her own media audit outfit, Spatial Access.

The days of uncertainty seem to be over now. In August this year, the Delhi-based Advertising Agencies Guild (AAG) - a consortium of 29 mid-sized advertising agencies in Delhi -appointed Carat India to handle the media duties of its participant agencies. The AAG business, together with Carat's key accounts of Bharti Telecom, Philips, adidas, Mattel, Max New York Life, Dabur Foods, Discovery Channel, Universal Dairy Products, Sahara and Montex Pens, has helped it tide over the initial setbacks. "All this business put together will come to Rs 500-crore plus," claims Menon.

Carat has also inducted some new blood. Among the six new people who have joined the agency in the recent past are Shilpa Dhanu and Tiya Sen from Initiative Media. While Sen is media group head at Carat, Dhanu has joined as assistant business director.

In addition to Carat's media communications operations, Aegis plc also holds a stake in Percept D'Mark, an event and sponsorship management company headed by CEO, Sanjay Lal. Carat aims to leverage its relationship with Percept D'Mark to offer specialised non-conventional media solutions.

Aegis is on the acquisition trail in India now. Walker states, "This is a market of huge unrealised potential for us. We're actively seeking ways to provide clients a full 360-degree offer and will, if necessary, acquire or establish new businesses to fulfil this vision." Carat India is reportedly in talks with "a couple of agencies" in the communications business. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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