New Delhi: Dentsu Aegis Network has entered the Sri Lanka market by acquiring the 59-year-old family run integrated advertising Grant Group. The deal is expected to close this week. In South Asia, Sri Lanka becomes the second market after India where Dentsu Aegis Network has an equity holding.
Established in 1958 by Deshabandu Reggie Candappa – known as the godfather of advertising in Sri Lanka—the Grant Group offers services across creative, media, outdoor, content and public relations. In 1993, it became an associate of Interpublic Group of Companies (IPG)-owned advertising agency McCann Erickson.
Being headed by Candappa’s daughter Neela Marikkar, the group currently employs 150 people across seven entities under two main groups: Grant Advertising and Grant Media. Post acquisition, Grant Advertising will be rebranded as Dentsu Grant while Grant Media will join Dentsu Aegis’ global media network brand, Carat.
Other global agency brands within the network will integrate with their local agency counterparts stated a statement.
The Sri Lankan leadership will be headed by Neela Marikkar, chairperson and managing director of the Dentsu Aegis Network Grant Group. She will report to Ashish Bhasin, chairman and chief executive, Dentsu Aegis Network, South Asia.
“Sri Lanka has become an extremely important market with a large literate population and increasing mobile penetration. Grant Group is one of the oldest and largest agency groups in the country offering services across spectrum. The group’s long standing relationships with their key clients, some over 50 years, also show that they have successfully built an incredibly strong network and trust from the clients,” said Bhasin.
Grant group services over 60 local and international clients including some of Sri Lanka’s largest advertisers including Ceylon Biscuits, Sampath Bank, telecommunication firm Dialog Axiata, dairy company Fonterra and Sri Lanka Tea Board among others.
“Given the growth in the market and the push towards digital, we need a strongly aligned and committed multinational partner with digital at its heart as brands grapple with the challenges of a changing media landscape. We are very excited to be able to tap on the network’s resources and work with the 38,000 great people at Dentsu Aegis Network,” said Neela Marikkar, chairperson of Grant Group in a statement.
Part of Dentsu Inc., Dentsu Aegis Network is made up of 10 global network brands—Carat, Dentsu, Dentsu media, iProspect, Isobar, mcgarrybowen, Merkle, MKTG, Posterscope and Vizeum and supported by its specialist/multi-market brands. Headquartered in London, it operates in 145 countries worldwide with more than 38,000 dedicated specialists.