US-based advertising and marketing services company Interpublic Group (IPG) has applied to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for permission to acquire a 51% stake in Lintas India Pvt Ltd to consolidate its presence in India.
Interpublic already owns 49% in Lintas; the rest is held by Lintas employees through 12 trusts. Advertising agencies are allowed by law to own up to 74% in their Indian subsidiaries without seeking permission from the FIPB, but 100% ownership requires the board’s clearance.
“IPG has put forth a proposal to buy the remaining 51% stake in the company,” said Prem Mehta, chairman and managing director, Lintas India. A senior Lintas executive, who did not wish to be identified, said shareholders were advised on the deal by DSP Merrill Lynch, while IPG was advised by Ambit Corporate Finance. The executive put the value of the deal at around $75-80 million (Rs307.5-328 crore), which values Lintas at around $150-160 million. Lintas India does not disclose its revenue and income.
Lintas India comprises ad agency Lowe India, independent advertising agencies Quadrant and SSC&B, media buying firm Initiative Media and other media, advertising, and marketing services firms. McCann Erickson, FCB Ulka and Lodestar in India are also part of Interpublic.