Could Mediacom come into Group M fold?

MUMBAI: With the takeover of Grey Global by the (now) world's largest media conglomerate, the WPP Group, could Mediacom, which is Grey's media arm, in time become one of the many M's of WPP's media management holding company Group M?



According to the official WPP release on this $ 1.5 billion mega takeover, it very clearly states that Grey's advertising agency business will run as an independent unit within the WPP group of companies, increasing the group's ability to manage sector and network conflicts; the business operating brands reporting to the chairman and CEO of Grey. It has also very clearly been stated that Mediacom, Grey's planning and buying unit, will be exploring opportunities to leverage the media buying scale of Group M.



This appears to point to Mediacom in the near future becoming a part of Group M globally. Speaking about the latest developments, Mindshare managing director South Asia Ashutosh Srivastav who takes charge as Group M CEO South Asia on 1 October, says, "With this takeover, Mediacom will become part of Group M at the global level, which will lead to leveraging the overall scale, the benefit then also applying to Grey's clients."



If this should stand true, the interesting question would be regarding how the conflicting interest of Mediacom's and Mindshare's largest advertisers, P&G and Unilever respectively, would be handled. This seems to be a major concern currently for both companies and hence for the time being things might just be left at status quo. Still, there have been umpteen examples to validate how two competing brands have worked quite well within the conglomerate. For instance, if one looks at the creative agencies under the WPP Group, O&M handles the the ICICI Bank business whereas JWT handles Standard Chartered Bank. Similarly, on the media front Group M companies Mindshare and Maxus; the former handles ICICI Bank and the latter handles Standard Chartered.

What there is no getting away from however, is that there are no easy answers here. But as WPP group chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell has oftentimes said, "let there be resource consolidation where required and competition where required."

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