JWT snaps up Indian ad firm, eyes acquisitions

MUMBAI: JWT, the wholly owned operating company of WPP Plc, is acquiring a majority stake in Hyderabad-based Mindset Advertising for an undisclosed amount.

Speaking to, JWT India chief executive officer Colvyn Harris said the agency is eyeing further acquisitions in the digital space that would bring in a range of services, skills and capabilities.

"We are taking a majority stake in Mindset Advertising, the leading agency in that market. We will have management control," said Harris, while declining to specify how much stake JWT would hold in the Indian agency.

With the buyout, JWT will have Hyderabad as its sixth office in India, helping it to tap into the growing IT, real estate, education and healthcare sectors.

"The deal will open up new avenues for us. The ad market in Hyderabad is growing at 25-30 per cent. The acquisition is made with an eye towards future growth potential. We look at the right scale and balance when we make acquisitions," said Harris.

Mindset Advertising, which offers creative services, strategic planning and campaign execution in digital, print and television, had posted a revenue of Rs 51 million for the fiscal ended March 2011, with gross assets of Rs 43 million.

Harris said, “Hyderabad figures as one of the most promising cities in JWT‘s growth plans and the integration of Mindset into our global operations gives clients in the city access to the best of what JWT has to offer worldwide. It also gives them access to the services of our family of specialist companies in various communications-related fields, including media planning and buying, digital communications, activation, public relations and market research.”

JWT has worked closely with Mindset on several clients including Bharti Airtel.

Santha John, who founded the agency, will head the JWT Hyderabad operation, which has a number of blue-chip clients, especially in Hyderabad’s key sectors of IT, education, health-care and infrastructure.

JWT Hyderabad will continue with its leadership team of CEO Ram Gedela, director creative Anvar Alikhan, AVP and senior creative director Mark Samuel.

JWT Hyderabad consists of a team of 44 people and offers a
full-service range of creative services, strategic planning and
execution in digital, print and television. Major clients include ADP, Airtel, and Pepsi.

JWT President Michael Maedel stated, “With the acquisition of Mindset, JWT is represented at a level that allows us to further capitalise on the opportunities developing in the market along with our clients, and to offer more advanced advertising and marketing solutions that meet clients’ needs.”

Added John, “We are proud to be part of JWT. We have been reputed to be ‘the best advertising brains in Hyderabad, under one roof’. With full access to JWT’s global resources, we now look forward to being able to offer our clients in Hyderabad an even higher level of service.”

India is one of the fastest growth markets for the WPP Group, with revenues of around $450 million, including associate firms‘ earnings.

"The group has five of India‘s top 10 agencies and collectively employs around 9,000 people," WPP said.

In 2008, JWT had acquired majority stake in Encompass Events, an independent events and promotions agency.

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