Finally done. Sandeep Goyal buys Rediffusion

03 May,2021


By Our Staff


Two years back, on May 27, 2019, to be precise, MxMIndia carried a speculative story titled ‘Is Sandeep Goyal buying into Rediffusion?’.


When the media publishes speculative stuff, in all likelihood the deal is done. It’s only not official. So when a veteran adperson alerted us of the news on Saturday evening, our instant response was: Okay, we’ve heard that before.


The morning after, given the mad rush to arrange an oxygen cylinder for a friend and the election results thereafter, we just parked the news to be tackled in the evening. And then we read the news on a couple of other websites.


And in the evening, we had this official press release coming in.


Let’s read what we’ve received, and then interpret it.


Diwan Arun Nanda and Ajit Balakrishnan, the founders of Rediffusion have decided to step back from the day-to-day management of the 48-years-old ad agency. However, Diwan Arun Nanda shall continue to mentor the agency and will stay on as Chairman. Ajit also will step back from all day-to-day operations here but focus his attention on, the technology world and public service and will be always available to Rediffusion for any guidance it may need going forward.

Sandeep Goyal, a past President of Rediffusion (1997-2001) will come back as Managing Director.

Rediffusion is even today, India’s largest independent full service ad agency and was set up in July, 1973. Over the years the agency has created some of India’s most iconic and memorable advertising for brands like Jenson & Nicholson, Eveready, Parle, Garden Vareli, Godfrey Phillips, Tata Tea, Lakmé, Telco (Tata Motors), Colgate Palmolive, Citibank, Maruti Suzuki and many others. Rediffusion also launched brand Airtel in 1995. The agency currently works with Tata Sons, Parle, Tata Trusts, Tata Motors, State Bank of India, Liebherr, Larsen & Toubro, Brookfield, PGIM, Orra, Eveready, Deys Medical, Sulekha, Danone, Sun Pharma, Dr. Reddys, Audi India and many more.

Said Diwan Arun Nanda, Chairman, Rediffusion: “Rediffusion has been known over the years for advertising that became famous and part of the language and the culture of the people, and helped brands build long term, and lasting equity with consumers. Whenever you see colour, think of us for Jenson & Nicholson was a path breaking campaign. So was Hum Red & White peene walon ki baat hi kuchh aur hai for Red & White cigarettes, Annu taazgi de de for Tata Tea, Gimme Red! for Eveready and the recent Isko laga dala, toh life jhingalala for Tata Sky. Rediffusion was also responsible for creating the cult ad film featuring AR Rahman, with the very memorable Airtel brand tune that has had the highest number of downloads in history.”


Is Goyal Generation Next? Well, he is in his late 50s and Nanda and Balakrishnan in their late to mid-70s. Not exactly the next generation, in the way it’s made out to be. But what industrywatchers (and more importantly, Goyal-watchers) tell us is that Goyal will usher in huge energies to Rediffusion as well as the creative agency business. There is no word on Goyal’s daughter Carol assuming a role in agency, but then these are early days.


While the press release received doesn’t indicate how much of stake has been sold, as per the grapevine, Goyal will be 100% owner of Rediffusion. People in the investment circuit, indicate that the valuation which Nanda and Balakrishnan would’ve got for the twin agencies of Rediff and Everest would be in the region of Rs 20-30 crore, a dramatic fall from the Rs 100 crore that was rumoured to be offered by WPP, and twice that by Havas a few years back.


The agency’s books are in good shape, as of now, with costs haven’t shaved off in a big way. There are a few clients who are loyal, and given Goyal’s deep connects in the industry (if the turnout at his book releases are any indicator), we could see some fireworks all over.

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