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After Mudra, Omnicom eyes another Indian acquisition

The US-based holding company is speaking to Bangalore-based digital agency 22feet. An announcement is expected to be made shortly

Viveat Susan Pinto  |  Mumbai 

New-York-headquartered Omnicom, which is merging with Paris-based Publicis Groupe, is in the last stages of discussion with Bangalore-based digital agency 22feet for acquiring the latter.

Omnicom, the holding company of agency brands such as DDB and BBDO, is likely to announce the deal shortly, informed sources said. 22feet has the digital duties of brands such as Titan, Lenovo, Cafe Coffee Day, Parachute, Royal Enfield, Axe, Pepsodent and Red Bull, among others.

Founded by ad guys Brijesh Jacob, Deepak Nair and Vinod Moolacherry in January 2009, the agency added one more partner Vineet Gupta in early 2010. Besides Bangalore, the agency has an office in Mumbai to service clients such as Hindustan Unilever. The acquisition, the second by Omnicom after picking up a majority stake in Mudra in November 2011, will be part of the latter, which has a digital unit called Tribal DDB. Omnicom is likely to merge Tribal DDB with 22feet much like its partner Publicis did with Saatchi & Saatchi in India, merging it with New Delhi-based ad agency Law & Kenneth in a deal last month.

The new entity was called L&K Saatchi & Saatchi. DDB Mudra's group CEO and managing director Madhukar Kamath could not be immediately reached for his comments. But the deal is expected to strengthen DDB Mudra's presence in the digital space. For instance, the digital duties of Heineken, globally handled by Tribal but in India by 22feet, will now remain with the Omnicom group thanks to the acquisition.

Some other accounts handled by Tribal in India include Volkswagen, McDonald's and Emirates. The acquisition also indicates that Omnicom, much like Publicis, is unlikely to give up its ambition of growing its operations organically and inorganically despite the two coming together in $35.1-billion merger.

In the past two years, Publicis has wrapped up eight acquisitions in India. The Paris-headquartered group is looking to double its revenues by the end of 2014.

Omnicom, too, has articulated the importance of emerging markets such as India as it looks to grow aggressively.

In its recent fourth-quarter results for the financial year ended December 2013, Omnicom reported an 18 per cent revenue growth in Latin America, followed by Asia-Pacific at 10 per cent. Europe and North America grew 2.6 per cent and three per cent, respectively.

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First Published: Mon, February 24 2014. 00:30 IST
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