French marketing firm to buy Indian co’s stake

London, November 24:

In recognition of India’s strengths as a provider of business services, a leading French marketing company is buying controlling stake in the Delhi-based Solutions Integrated Marketing Services. Publicis, the Paris-based company, is the world’s fourth largest marketing services group. It has announced it is buying a 60 per cent stake in Solutions Integrated Marketing Services, according to a report in The Financial Times, London. Maurice Levy, chairman and chief executive of Publicis, is quoted as saying that the Indian company would help his group expand its capabilities in India and other parts of Asia. He said Publicis had worked with the company for clients including Hewlett-Packard.

“It’s something which could not have been built by us overnight,” said Levy, one of the many Western chief executives who visited India in recent months, “You have some fantastic people there — great professionals.” Publicis said it was not disclosing the purchase price because Solutions Integrated Marketing was a private company. It said some of the payment would be in the form of an ‘earn out’, which kicks in when an acquired company meets certain targets.

Levy said Publicis began talking with Solutions Integrated Marketing late last year. He said the deal was particularly attractive because it would help Publicis increase its revenues from marketing services. He said developing countries such as India could see explosive growth in marketing services, which could include everything from staging promotional eve-nts to helping companies figure out better ways to sell their wares in stores. “There is almost no infrastructure in marketing services,” he said, “The gr-owth that you can expect is huge because we are st-arting from a low base.”