Social Samosa takes a look at Dentsu Aegis Network acquisitions over the years
“Digital is no longer a medium. It is a way of doing business. It is how consumers interact with brands. Ecommerce is gaining more prominence. A digital transformation has happened and is affecting every business. Agencies and marketers who don’t recognise this will be left behind like dinosaurs,” Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO South Asia Dentsu Aegis Network recently said.
Over the last few years, Dentsu Aegis Network has charted an upward tread with strategic acquisition, strengthening its digital services multi-fold. Under the leadership of Ashish Bhasin, DAN has acquired promising digital units including Vivek Bhargava founded Communicate 2 (now, iProspect) and Rajiv Dingra’s brainchild, WATConsult.
On Ashish Bhasin’s 53rd birthday, Social Samosa takes a look at how the media veteran has managed to take DAN in a new direction in the highly competitive media domain.
For the unacquainted, Bhasin joined the Aegis Group in 2008 and prior to that had more than 20 years of experience in his kitty; he worked with Lintas India as EVP Lowe Worldwide and Asia Regional Director- Integrated Marketing. From the year 1997 till 2003, he was the President at Initiative Media.
Bhasin has several accolades to his credit. He was named as the Chairman of the Goafest Organizing Committee 2017. The Media Research Users Council (MRUC), an apex body representing major advertisers, advertising agencies, publishers and broadcasters elected Bhasin as the new Chairman. He was the head of jury at the Apac Effie 2017. Bhasin was also the Jury Chair for Best Social Media Brand Awards by Social Samosa.
In 2012, Dentsu acquired a 51 per cent stake in Taproot, whose co-founders Santosh Padhi and Agnello Dias continue to work at Taproot Dentsu now.
DAN acquired Communicate 2, founded by Vivek Bhargava in 2012. The company was re-branded as iProspect India at the end of 2015, with Bhargava leading as Chief Executive Officer, till Rubeena Singh took charge as the CEO of iProspect India in December 2016. Bhargava was then promoted to a larger role of CEO of DAN Performance Group.
In 2013, Dentsu India acquired majority stake in WebChutney. It was Dentsu’s first acquisition in the digital agency space in India.
In 2015, Dentsu Aegis Network acquired WATConsult, a homegrown social and digital media agency, founded by Rajiv Dingra. The agency today boasts of prestigious clients like DBS Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, SBI Mutual Fund, Godrej, Cadbury, Honda, and others.
DAN announced the acquisition of event and experiential marketing agency Fountainhead Entertainment in 2015. The five brands within Fountainhead are: Fountainhead Events, Oranjuice Entertainment, Fountainhead Activations, Fountainhead Corporate Journeys and Fountainhead Digital.
In 2016, Dentsu acquired Happy Creative and rebranded it to Mcgarrybowen.
In 2016, DAN acquired Fractal Ink Design Studio Pvt. Ltd, an experiential design studio which joined the network’s digital agency Isobar. The agency got rebranded as Fractal Ink Design Studio—Linked by Isobar.
Dentsu Aegis Network acquired Gurgaon-based SVG Media Pvt. Ltd, a joint venture between Manish Vij’s Vun Network and Harish Bahl’s Smile Group this year. SVG Media operates several businesses, including mobile and digital advertising, in-app video platform and data targeting through its units — Tyroo, DGM, Seventynine and Komli. With this acquisition, SVG Media is a part of Dentsu’s Asia Pacific digital marketing agency Columbus, and got renamed as SVG Columbus.
In July 2017, Dentsu Aegis Network acquired Sokrati, India’s leading data-driven performance marketing and analytics agency, launching Merkle in the country – the first launch of the global data-driven performance marketing agency in the Asia Pacific region. Post-acquisition, Sokrati got get re-branded as Merkle Sokrati, further scaling Dentsu Aegis India’s data and performance marketing offering.
According to media reports, post the acquisition of SVG, over one third of DAN’s existing workforce is now committed to digital. A digital committed agency, it will be interesting to see how DAN moves forward.