New Delhi, June 20: Bates India, the Rs 150-crore Calcutta-based advertising agency, is likely to remain a ‘stand-alone’ agency even as it comes within the fold of WPP which has acquired Cordiant Communications group at a price tag of £ 256 million.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Shovon Chowdhury, executive vice-president and general manager of Bates India, said, “It is very unlikely that Bates in India will be merged with any other WPP agencies in the country. In all likelihood, Bates will be Sir Martin Sorrell’s sixth agency in India, after HTA, Ogilvy & Mather, Contract, Rediffusion Y&R and Equus Red Cell.”
Bates was representative of Cordiant group in India.
Bates India has offices in Delhi and Mumbai and two representative offices in south India. It employs over 100 employees.
Advertising experts are also of the view that it makes little sense for Bates to merge with one of WPP’s existing agencies and lose a couple of conflicting clients in the bargain.
Bates, which has more than 100 offices worldwide, is a strong brand in the advertising world.
“The news of the acquisition at the global level has just trickled in. It will take about a week before the regional heads meet and chart out the future course of action for the agency. There will, of course, be a change in the reporting structure at the global level. But, in India, no major change is expected though the picture will be clear only after the meeting,” said Chowdhury.
Bates India doubled its operating profit in 2002 and closed the year last December with an operating revenue of Rs 18.9 crore and an operating profit of 14 per cent.
Major clients of the agency include ITC, Hindustan Lever, Nokia, Allied Domeq, Dr Morepen and some brands of Dabur, Tata Salt and Tata AIG.
Chowdhury reckons WPP’s acquisition of Cordiant is a positive step. “After acquiring Cordiant, WPP becomes the largest agency network in the world,” he said.