The Publicis Groupe has signed an agreement to acquire a majority stake in PR firm 20:20 Media, and social media consulting company 2020Social. The deal is subject to approval from India’s FIPB, and the acquired entities will be become part of MS&LGroup, the Publicis Groupe’s flagship PR and events network. 2020Social was started in June 2009, and its co-founder, Gaurav Mishra, left the company a little over a year layer, in August 2010.

The press release claims that 2020Social was India’s first social media consulting firm, which is factually incorrect. In any case, India is a hyper-competitive market: as many social media consultants in the country as there were cows on Delhi’s streets, before the CommonWealth Games cleanup.

According to the release, 20:20 MEDIA and 2020Social will each operate independently alongside MS&LGroup’s existing agency in India, Hanmer MS&L. The three agency operations will be united under the common MS&LGroup India brand, with a common India business strategy and Management Board. This board will be chaired by MS&LGroup Asia President Glenn Osaki, and 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. Maybe they’ll take a decision on fixing the 2020Social website too:

My take on Social Media consulting is that it’s a PR mandate, since the business is more about developing and managing consumer relations online. It’s a long haul, and 20:20 Media was in the right segment with 2020Social. The pitch that advertising agencies make to clients is from a marketing perspective (given their domain expertise), and this means that the approach so far has been more from a marketing perspective, with a campaign mentality. I don’t think that serves business goals in the long run. You can promote and create a facebook fan page, but what happens once the campaign ends?