Publicis Groupe Acquires iStrat & MarketGate


Publicis Groupe, the French advertising and public relations company, has acquired two digital media agencies in India, iStrat and MarketGate. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Both iStrat and MarketGate leadership will now report to Nakul Chopra, CEO South Asia for Publicis Worldwide.

Publicis Groupe has acquired quite a few digital agencies in India since 2010. In 2010, Publicis Groupe  had acquired PR firm 2020 Media, of which social media consulting firm 2020 Social is a part. In April 2012, it acquired digital marketing and web development firm Indigo Consulting and in August 2012, it had acquired performance marketing firm Resultrix.

iStrat, founded in 2003, is an agency that provides services such as digital communications, ecommerce store fronts, search engine optimization, social media and rich media. The agency is headquartered in Delhi and employs a team of 50 people. Its clients include Alpha G:Corp (real estate), the Confederation of Indian Industries, Dupont (luxury accessories), Hero Corp (motorcycles), Hindware (kitchen and sanitary appliances), Maruti Suzuki, the NASSCOM software trade association, and Nestlé. Post acquisition, iStrat will be rebranded to Publicis iStrat and will operate as a unit within Publicis Modem, Publicis Worldwide’s global digital network. iStrat’s founders, Navneet Singh Sahni (CEO) and Sonya Sahni (Head of Marketing), will continue to lead the agency.

MarketGate, a strategic business and marketing consulting firm, on the other hand is based in Mumbai and was founded in 2005. It provides services such as business growth planning, marketing strategy, brand positioning, portfolio strategy, brand architecture development, and marketing skills developments. Its clients include Clients include Colgate, Dabur (foods/personal care), General Motors, GlaxoSmithKline, Godrej (personal care), HSBC, ICICI (financial services/banking), Madura Garments (fashion), Mahindra & Mahindra (automobile), MTR (foods), and Radio Mirchi Viacom. As a part of the acquisiton, Publicis Groupe will also acquire MarketGate Dimension, a subsidiary of MarketGate, that provides research-based solutions to businesses. It has offices in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. MarketGate Dimension’s clients include Glenmark (personal care), Kellogg’s, Maruti Suzuki, The Walt Disney Company and Viacom 18. Post acquisition, MarketGate will retain its name and will operate within Publicis Worldwide. It will also continue to be led by founders Shripad Nadkarni (CEO) and Sharda Agarwal (Executive Director).

Similar Developments

This year we have seen quite a few acquisitions in the digital media agency market. Media and digital communications group Aegis Group plc had entered into an agreement to acquire a digital performance marketing and search agency Communicate 2. The WPP group had acquired 51% in Hungama’s digital agency arm, via JWT Singapore.

In August 2012, we had reported that Interpublic Group (IPG), an advertising network, might acquire Interactive Avenues (IA), a digital marketing agency. Japanese advertising major, Dentsu, has acquired a 51% stake in Mumbai-based Indian advertising agency, Taproot India.


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