<p>Michael Roth, chairman and chief executive officer, IPG, has packed in quite a bit on his maiden trip to India.The country remains key for the No. 3 advertising group, and Roth made no bones about it. In a conversation with Viveat Susan Pinto, he highlighted his priorities. Edited excerpts:
You have strong agency brands in India — Lowe Lintas, McCann-Erickson" target="_blank">McCann-Erickson and DraftFCB. Are you satisfied with their performance?
Yes. Each one of them has good clients. Unilever with Lowe, Coca-Cola with McCann and Tata Group brands with DraftFCB. But I am not averse to more business. For instance, McCann won some new business from Aircel and General Motors. Lowe has been bagging new business. I am happy. I think we need to manage both existing and new clients.
Your visit comes at a time when IPG has full control of its advertising agencies.
That's right. Three years ago, we acquired full control of Lowe Lintas and DraftFCB in India. McCann, as you know, is already 100 per cent owned by us. With Lowe Lintas and DraftFCB now fully under our control, that helps.
What is the contribution of India and other emerging markets to IPG's revenues?
We have bunched our regions into three blocks, North America, which contributes 60 per cent; Western Europe, which contributes 20 per cent and the rest of the world, the remaining 20 per cent. The rest of the world includes Asia Pacific and Latin America. India is part of Asia Pacific. And APAC's contribution is 10 per cent. I see this growing.
Coming to media, while FCB’s media arm, Lodestar and McCann’s media wing, Universal, were brought together under Lodestar Universal, Lowe Lintas's media arm, Lintas Media was not part of it. Are there any plans to bring Lintas Media under the Lodestar Univeral umbrella?
Lodestar Universal and Lintas Media are brands we want to maintain. While we have an umbrella holding company called Media Brands, we will continue to keep Lodestar Universal and Lintas Media as they are.
But isn’t media all about consolidation?
It's slightly different with us. While WPP believed in agglomeration under GroupM, we align our networks with the media offerings. So, the relationship of Lodestar Universal with McCann, for instance, continues. It also has a relationship with Media Brands. But we don't fold everything into one.
Have you identified any target for acquisition here?
Yes, we are interested in acquisitions. But we will leave it to our business units here to identify the partners they wish to work with. It is important that they be given the freedom to do that.
How do you plan to deploy the $150 million you have set aside for acquisitions. Some of it will be used for Indian acquisitions, right? Yes, but I cannot tell you where we propose to deploy it. India is an important market and we will not ignore it.