New York-headquartered JWT, an advertising network which is a part of Martin Sorrell’s WPP Group, is acquiring a majority stake in Hyderabad-based advertising agency Mindset Advertising Pvt Ltd. The company is already operating as a JWT associate.

Founded in 1998 and based in Hyderabad, Mindset is a full service advertising agency which offers creative services, strategic planning and campaign execution in digital, print and audio-visual media. The agency has 44 people on board and its major clients include ADP, Airtel and Pepsi. Mindset's unaudited revenues for the year ended March 31, 2011, amounted to Rs 5.1 crore, with gross assets of Rs 4.3 crore.

“This investment will help continue WPP’s strategy of developing its networks in fast-growing and important markets and sectors. In India, some WPP agencies (including JWT) have been operating for more than 80 years and it remains one of the fastest growth markets for the group,” WPP said in a statement. Incidentally, WPP has recorded double-digit growth in India last year, with revenues of $450 million including those of associates.

“Hyderabad is one of the most promising cities in JWT’s growth plans and the integration of Mindset into our global operations gives the city’s clients access to the best of what JWT has to offer worldwide. It will also help them access the services of our specialist companies in various communications-related fields including media planning and buying, digital communications, activation, public relations and market research,” said Colvyn Harris, CEO of JWT India.

Mindset’s Santha John will head the JWT Hyderabad operations.

JWT’s earlier acquisitions in India include Encompass Events Pvt Ltd (an events and promotions agency) where it acquired a majority stake in 2008. JWT’s key clients include Cadbury, Diageo, Ford, HSBC, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, Nestlé, Nokia, Unilever and Vodafone, among others.

Although the Indian advertising sector has not seen large M&A activities in the last 3-4 years, Japanese advertising major Dentsu Inc. has recently consolidated its Indian venture by buying 26 per cent stake, held by partner Sandeep Goyal, for Rs 240 crore.

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