India has become a hotbed of holding company acquisition activity in recent months. The latest agency purchase there was confirmed today by Aegis Group, which bought digital shop Communicate 2 (C2).
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Aegis said the agency had gross assets of more than $2.3 million. The search specialist was founded in 1997 and clients include American Express, Travelocity, Aviva Insurance, Tata Consultancy Services, Cleartrip, ICICI Lombard and HDFC Bank. C2 has offices in Mumbai, Delhi and Pune and over 130 employees.
C2 will be merged into Aegis’ iProspect India operation. The London-based holding company stated that the acquisition “is in line with the Aegis Group strategy of increasing its digital profile and capability in faster-growing regions.”
It was the second purchase of an Indian agency by a holding company this week. Earlier, Publicis Groupe bought Mumbai-based digital shop Resultrix, which also has offices in New Delhi, Dubai, Seattle and Singapore.
Driving holding company interest in the market is India’s rapidly growing ad economy. According to ZenithOptimedia, the country’s ad spending totaled $5.8 billion in 2011 and is expected to grow 30% over the next three years.
Aegis itself is set to be acquired later this year by Japanese ad holding company Dentsu, which also has a major presence in India. Last year, it bought out a minority partner to take full control of three leading agencies in the country, including Dentsu Communications, Dentsu Marcom and Dentsu Creative Impact.
For Publicis Groupe, the Resultrix acquisition was the company’s second purchase of an Indian shop this year. In April, it bought Indigo Consulting, whose services include Web site design and development, search engine optimization and other online marketing efforts as well as research and testing.
Late last year, Omnicom Group also upped its stakes in India significantly with the acquisition of a majority position in the Mudra Group, one of India’s top advertising and marketing services operations. The Mudra group generates an estimated $45 million in annual revenues, with 26 offices throughout the country.