Global advertising and public relations major WPP Group Plc is in talks to acquire 60 per cent equity stake owned by Arun Nanda and Ajit Balakrishnan in ad and branding agency Rediffusion Y&R India, according to a report by The Economic Times citing sources.

If the deal goes through, WPP will increase its holding to 86.67 per cent from the current 26.67 per cent. WPP had been trying to buy out stake held by Nanda and Balakrishnan for many years now. Remaining 13.33 per cent equity stake in the Indian ad agency is held by Japanese firm Dentsu Inc.

WPP is apparently in an advanced stage to acquire the 60 per cent stake, which may be worth around Rs 150-200 crore, the paper said citing an unidentified WPP executive.

However, both the parties, when contacted by the paper, termed the deal talks as speculative.

Founded by Nanda, Balakrishnan and Mohammed Khan in 1973, Rediffusion Y&R India offers marketing communication solutions to customers across the globe, including India.

The ad agency, which has a strategic partnership with Edelman India, handles brands like Emami and MTS. The firm is based out of Mumbai and has additional offices in Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai.

It also owns ad agency Everest Brand Solutions and associated businesses such as digital agency VML Qais and Brand Asset Valuation.

Recently, WPP-which generate revenues of $5 billion and employs more than 47,000 people in Asia Pacific—had bought Delhi-based rural communications and marketing services provide RC&M.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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