Biggest ever Experiential Media buy as Dentsu Aegis acquires Fountainhead

19 Oct,2015


By A Correspondent


It’s being touted as the biggest ever buy of an experiential agency in India. Okay, okay, there was Encompass bought by WPP not long ago, but that was in a different era. If all milestones are achieved, the deal size could get the six Fountainhead owners richer by some 400 crore. In INR.


So here’s the news: Dentsu Aegis Network has announced the acquisition of Fountainhead Entertainment Pvt.Ltd, one of India’s leading event and experiential agencies.


Established in 1994 and now with more than 205 experiential specialists, Fountainhead is headquartered in Mumbai and has offices in Delhi and Bengaluru. Founded by Chairman Brian Tellis, Managing Director Neale Murray and Director Otis D’Souza and  later joined by co-directors, media honcho Pradeep Guha, V G Jairam and Owen Roncon,


Post-acquisition, Fountainhead will continue to be led by co-founder and CEO Brian Tellis. The current management team will also continue as is. Tellis will report into Ashish Bhasin, Chairman and CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network South Asia. Some time next year (2016), the existing experiential offering of psLIVE, with 86 people in India, will be merged with Fountainhead, making the combined agency India’s largest experiential and activation agency business.


Nick Waters, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Asia Pacific said, “Fountainhead’s reputation in the event and activation market, and their extensive experience in both music and sports marketing, complements and strengthens our experiential offering in one of the region’s most exciting markets. This move represents a further step in our continued investment programme in the Indian market.We welcome Brian and the wider team to the network.”


Ashish Bhasin, Chairman and CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network South Asia said, “As the fastest growing network in India, we are continuing to expand our portfolio of diverse specialisations available to our growing client base. Fountainhead’s creative quality and reputation in the market make it the perfect addition to Dentsu Aegis Network India. Our unique ‘One P & L’ philosophy will help us bring their expertise to all Dentsu Aegis Network clients. This is another big step forward in helping us achieve our mission of being the second largest agency group by end 2017 in India, overturning for the first time the existing ranking which has historically been in place for over 80 years in India.”


Brian Tellis, Co-founder and CEO of Fountainhead said, “Our vision is to deliver world class experiences to our stake holders. To set benchmarks in delivery through cutting-edge creativity, innovation, value pricing and practices and processes.  We are thrilled to join Dentsu Aegis Network. The sheer dynamism of the group will open up opportunities for us. Our values are well aligned and the potentially combined entity of Fountainhead and psLIVE will become the most comprehensive experiential offering in India. We are very excited about this opportunity and the growth potential it offers. Fountainhead, a full service experiential agency, will now start to align with an enviable spectrum of brands through the Dentsu Aegis Network.”


Fountainhead boasts a client base of more than a hundred on all types of events, digital initiatives, product launches, brand activation and meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions. The five brands within the growing business are: Fountainhead Events, Oranjuice Entertainment, Fountainhead Activations, Fountainhead Corporate Journeys and Fountainhead Digital. Together, they deliver in excess of 350 events annually, a communiqué noted


Fountainhead will retain its identity and branding, working alongside the other specialist Dentsu Aegis Network brands locally: Carat, iProspect, Isobar, Posterscope, Vizeum, Amnet, Dentsu media, Dentsu branded agencies (Dentsu Creative Impact, Dentsu Marcom, Dentsu Communications, Taproot Dentsu, Dentsu Webchutney), WATConsult and Milestone Brandcom.


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