London-based Dentsu Aegis Network Ltd, part of Japanese advertising group Dentsu Inc., has agreed to acquire Pune-headquartered digital marketing and analytics provider Sokrati Technologies Pvt. Ltd in its second takeover deal in India this year.
Dentsu said in a statement it has signed an agreement to acquire a 51% stake in Sokrati with an option to buy the remaining in the future.
The acquisition will contribute to Dentsu’s corporate marketing activities based on data analysis in India. Sokrati will add 138 employees to Dentsu’s headcount in India, taking the total in the country to 3,500, the multinational company said.
As part of the agreement, Dentsu will launch its US-based performance marketing agency Merkle in India.
Merkle’s backing and Dentsu’s reach will help Sokrati to expand its offerings with its technology and expertise, the Indian company said in a post on its website. The company will be renamed Merkle Sokrati.
It didn’t disclose financial details of the deal. However, multiple financial dailies have pegged the transaction between Rs 500 crore and Rs 800 crore.
Sokrati was founded in January 2009 by Ashish Mehta, Anubhav Sonthalia, Santosh Gannavarapu and Kaushik Paranjpe, according to its website.
Before starting Sokrati, Mehta was part of the paid marketing team at Amazon.com while Sonthalia worked in the programme and product management division. Gannavarapu worked on software that powered Amazon’s affiliate marketing programme. Paranjpe worked with Persistent Systems among other companies before co-founding Sokrati.
The company raised an undisclosed amount in its Series A funding from Inventus Capital in March 2011. It secured Series B funding from IvyCap Ventures in 2015.
Dentsu has been expanding in India with the help of acquisitions. Its most recent acquisition was in April when it bought Gurgaon-based SVG Media Pvt. Ltd, a joint venture between Manish Vij’s Vun Network and Harish Bahl’s Smile Group, for nearly $130 million.
In December 2016, it had acquired Mumbai-based Fractal Ink Design Studio Pvt Ltd, a service provider in the user interface and user experience domain. The deal was pegged around Rs 215-300 crore.
Previously, it purchased media relations firm Public Relations and Mumbai-based events agency Fountainhead Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. In January 2015, Dentsu agreed to buy a 90% stake in WAT Media Pvt. Ltd, which operated a full-service digital agency under the brand WATConsult. In 2012, it acquired a 51% stake in Mumbai-based advertising agency Taproot India Communication Pvt Ltd.
*This article has been updated to include additional information from Dentsu’s statement.
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