‘By 2015, we want to be the top 3 player in every single sphere we operate in’

09 Aug,2012

What led you to shortlist Communicate2 as the partner of choice?

Communicate2 is one of the largest and oldest firms in the area of search & performance marketing in India. Vivek Bhargava, as you’d know, is considered to be the guru of search inIndia. He is also one of the guys to be Google-certified and has been in this business since 1997 – a time when the internet and search was in its absolute infancy. In our view, nobody else managed the quality and scale of the business that he has built up, and therefore he was a preferred partner of choice.


The other important reason for choosing Communicate2 was chemistry – Aegis Media has a certain vision and value outlook which is very close to our heart and Communicate2 seemed to have gelled very well with those attributes. There was a lot of comfort on both sides. So these were some of the key reasons for us to choose Communicate2.


Will you be laying enhanced emphasis on Search with the current acquisition…

The focus is on search because it is one of the fastest growing parts of our business. Clearly, Communiacte2 is the biggest player in the space and now with iProspect and Communicate2 together, we are straight away the number one player of search in India. So that’s how it is placed as of now.


How long has it been since you have been pursuing Communicate2? Did you scan the market for other potential candidates?

We were working with them about 4-5 years ago, but nothing more came out of that deal. This recent move has been in the works for a few months. Also, we did scan the market as anybody else would and we did have a few names that we shortlisted and we narrowed down to Communicate2.


The deal seems heavy on the investments front. Would you share with us the monetary plans you engaged in towards snapping the agency?

An agency that is the oldest and has a workforce of more than 130 people is not going to sell out cheap. I cannot disclose the amounts behind the deal, but I can say that it has been fairly priced.


The market has been abuzz with news of big communication houses buying out specialist digital agencies in the recent past. What would you infer of this trend that everybody is taking a liking to?

I cannot comment about others, but there is a clear strategy that Aegis Media believes in and that is by 2015, we want to be the top three player in every single sphere that we operate in – be it out-of-home, search or digital. As part of our strategy to be in the top 3, the best way of getting there was by partnering with Communicate2 because their expertise, their client base and their search professionals coupled with the iProspect tools and knowledge would be an unbeatable combination.


In an acquisition it is very important that you have to see how the acquisition fits with the plans of your company. So the task of integration becomes key, which is why the quality and type of people and the chemistry become important. So companies that are blindly going out and buying companies will fall flat on their face, but those who are able to acquire and integrate companies and have a great bond with the partners will be successful in the long run.


Globally, digital contributes more than 35 per cent for Aegis Media. What is it that you anticipate from the Indian market post the acquisition of Communicate2?

We are looking at being the clear No 1. Globally, iProspect is the world’s largest search network, and in India we now become No 1 with this venture. But we want to be No 1 by a long distance. We want to be double the size of the No 2 guy in a few years.


What are the immediate changes that will be seen on ground?

There is a new office that we are in the process of doing up in Mumbai; their staff will be moving into that new place soon. Likewise the Delhi team too would be amalgamated in our office. With this the entire Aegis Media clients will have benefits from Communicate2 and vice-versa.


As for people, Vivek will be the MD of the new venture. He already has a management team. Of course, as growth happens we will keep recruiting more people. All other aspects remain the same.


The announcement comes just weeks after Dentsu acquired a stake in Aegis Media. Has this deal been inspired from that takeover…

These things do not happen overnight; it has been ongoing much before that. The two are not related.


Future plans from Aegis Media…

As I said, we will be the top 3 player in every space that we operate in. In some instances we will do that organically, in others we will do that inorganically – provided we get a good partner. We are not on the lookout as of now but if any new opportunity does come up we will not be turning a blind eye to that.


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