Euronext Paris-listed Publicis Groupe today said that it plans to acquire a majority stake in communications agency, 20:20 Media, and social media consulting firm, 2020Social, subject to the mandatory FIPB approvals.
After the transaction is concluded, the two Indian agencies will become part of MS&LGroup, Publicis Groupe's PR and events network.
Earlier in 2007, MS&L had acquired leading Indian public relations consultancy Hanmer & Partners, founded by Sunil Gautam, a former founding partner Mumbai-based Clea Advertising, rebranding it as Hanmer MS&L. (See: Publicis Groupe's PR arm Manning Selvage & Lee's to acquire top Indian PR firm Hanmer & Partners)
Founded in 1989, 20:20 Media among the leading public relations firms, specialising in technology communications. 20:20 Media employs more than 140 staff across its offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune.
Last year, the PR firm was selected as the India PR agency of the year at the Indy's Awards.
The acquisition of 2020Social would help MS&LGroup acquire clients access to India's first social media consulting firm. 2020Social was founded in 2009 and focuses on strategy and advisory services for C-suite executives, marketers and PR directors, and provides technology development, campaign management and evaluation.
20:20 Media and 2020Social will each operate independently alongside MS&LGroup's existing multi-discipline communications agency in India, Hanmer MS&L, which maintains a top position in the India PR industry with more than 400 staff across eight offices.
The three agency operations will be united under the common MS&LGroup India brand and comprise the largest, most-awarded, and specialised PR and social media network in the country. The operations of each agency remain independent as distinct business units, but will be directed by a common India business strategy and management board. This board will be chaired by MS&LGroup Asia President Glenn Osaki, and other members will include Sunil Gautam and Jaideep Shergill representing Hanmer MS&L, Sunil Agarwal and Chetan Mahajan representing 20:20 Media and 2020Social, as well as other representatives from MS&LGroup.
With a combined staff across the three business units of more than 550 employees, 16 owned offices and an activation network reaching 125 additional cities across the country, MS&LGroup India holds an unrivalled leadership position in India's fast-growing PR, events and social media industry.
The Publicis Groupe is the world's third largest communications group, with a presence in in 104 countries through three global advertising networks, Leo Burnett, Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi, and numerous agencies including Fallon, 49-per cent owned Bartle Bogle Hegarty, and Kaplan Thaler Group.
The group's VivaKi, which developes new services, tools, and next generation digital platforms, operates along side Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia worldwide media networks.