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Publicis acquires Indian digital agency Convonix

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MUMBAI: Marking its first acquisition in India this year, the Publicis Groupe has taken over full service digital marketing agency and consulting firm Convonix.

The company will align with Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG) in India to provide search engine optimisation, paid search marketing, social media marketing and online reputation management to an extensive roster of clients. This news follows a number of recent acquisitions announced by Publicis Groupe in India and fortifies its position as India‘s largest digital marketing operation.

The three founding members - CEO Vishal Sampat, co-COO Sarfaraz Khimani and co-COO Pallav Jain - will continue to lead the agency. Convonix will sit within SMG and will operate as SMG Convonix, with two market-facing brands: SMG Digital, and Convonix.

Founded in 2003, Convonix was the first Search Engine Optimisation organisation in India, and currently employs over 200 digital advertising specialists serving clients such as Taj Hotels, Reliance Industries, Kotak Mahindra Group, Club Mahindra, Kodak, Aditya Birla Group among others. Convonix has a strong international footprint with over 60 per cent of its business coming from overseas. Convonix has also recently developed a proprietary in-house brand monitoring and social listening platform called IrisTrack which enables clients to gather market insight on their products and competitors and also engage customers online to improve their customer service.

Starcom MediaVest Group global chief executive officer Laura Desmond said, "As the first SEO organisation in India, Convonix has continued to innovate and build the very best digital capability whilst being highly respected for its ability to recruit the best talent from universities each year, and transform them into digital advertising experts through a rigorous training program. combined with our existing talent in the market, this deal strengthens our offering to ensure we are the market leaders in digital."

Year on year, Convonix has increased revenues on average 66 per cent since 2008. According to the latest ZenithOptimedia ad spend forecast, Search Marketing continues to expand rapidly in India and is forecast to increase 35 per cent in the region during 2013, and more than 70 per cent in the next two years.

Sampat said, "We have built our reputation by focusing on talent, training, technology and performance, and doing so has enabled us to rapidly evolve with the consumer. Aligning with SMG gives us global scale and a more powerful face to the market which we can leverage to constantly improve our offering and give our clients the best tools and solutions available."

The acquisition of Convonix is a testament to Publicis Groupe‘s strategic commitment to expanding its operations across India, with the ambitious goal of doubling its size in India between 2010 and 2015. The Groupe has been working to increase its profile in the country, including recent acquisitions of Indigo Consulting (April 2012), Resultrix (August 2012), iStrat (December 2012) and MarketGate (December 2012).

VivaKi India country chair Srikant Sastri, who is presiding over the acquisition and transition of Convonix, added: "First Resultrix, and now Convonix. We are now clearly the digital marketing leaders in India, ahead of any other global network. We are positive that this acquisition will set the tone for our next phase of digital pre-eminence both in terms of expertise and revenue and we are continuing to explore other agencies that can help us capitalize on the outstanding potential of the digital marketplace in India."

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