Bengaluru: Madison World, the largest independent media company in the country, has acquired a controlling stake in Bengaluru-based brand consulting and public relations firm Integrated Brand-comm Pvt. Ltd.

The acquisition comes in the wake of company’s efforts to consolidate its public relation offering. Madison declined to divulge the percentage of the stake acquired or the size of the deal.

Founded by Ramanujam Sridhar, Brand-comm is an 18-year-old communications consulting company with operations in six cities including Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad. Its range of integrated services include comprehensive consultancy across brand consulting, public relations and digital marketing.

Brand-comm will continue to exist as an independent entity offering services along with Madison PR which is being headed by Paresh Chaudhry and has 80-member strong team across offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai.

Madison’s public relation arm currently works with clients such as consumer goods firm Procter & Gamble, ITC, GSK (vaccines division), hotel chain JW Marriott, Abbott Healthcare, Tata Power, Café Coffee Day and consumer electrical firm Crompton Greaves among others.

Speaking on the development, Sam Balsara, chairman and managing director, Madison World said, “Brand-comm is a well-respected communications company in the South and Ramanujam Sridhar is a recognized name in the field. We believe both parties will gain significantly from the synergies of this partnership." Lara Balsara Vajifdar, executive director, Madison World added that between Madison PR and Brand-comm, they will have 120 people. “We hope to close many more new relationships in the near future," she said.

Ramanujam Sridhar, founder and chief executive officer, said, “Sam Balsara is a legend in the communications industry in India and it is a privilege to be a partner of Madison World. We see significant benefit to our clients and employees from this partnership."

Noting that the public relations industry is growing at 15% to 20% and is estimated to reach 2,100 crore by 2020, Nitin Mantri, president of the public relations consultants association and chief executive of Avian Media said that the Brand-comm acquisition is a testimony of the fact that PR firms now have to be more integrated, offering digital and social media services to stay relevant.

“Brand-comm is more than just a PR firm it also offers brand consultancy and digital marketing services. The traditional PR model is dead and firms now are offering digital and social media services which add immense value to the media companies which acquire them. Although consolidation is happening in the industry, I believe independent PR firms will continue to play a critical part in the growth of the industry bringing creativity and nimbleness," he said.

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