Dentsu Aegis Network, the owner of performance marketing agencies Merkle and iProspect, has acquired the independent digital agency SVG Media, based in India. 

The all-cash deal sees Dentsu acquire an 89% stake in SVG Media in a deal estimated to be worth $110-150 million. The search specialist will join Dentsu’s APAC digital marketing agency, Columbus, becoming SVG Columbus. 

The buyout has been made to support and advance Dentsu’s rank as Google’s largest search partner in India. It also lays the groundwork for Columbus’ further expansion in Asia Pacific, with it already present in nine markets within the region. 

Growth potential in India

Dentsu’s CEO for South Asia, Ashish Bhasin, commented that the newly-merged company would be ideally positioned to capture India’s “fragmented long-tail publisher market”, given its capabilities in data-led search, performance marketing and mobile. 

“India is a significant market with rapid growth potential in its mobile and performance marketing business, and Dentsu Aegis Network India has a strong track record in the search and performance space to deliver this,” said Bhasin. 

SVG Media’s former CEO and founder of DGM India, Anurag Gupta, assumes the role of CEO for SVG Columbus, now reporting to Bhasin in the new role. 

Following the announcement, Gupta pledged to continue to ramp up the group’s services in performance marketing; “We are assured of their strong growth momentum, which will enable us to further enhance our scale as a business operationally and geographically.”

The acquisition by Dentsu follows just several weeks after it announced the purchase of US-based Leapfrog, another leader in search technology, to strengthen its agency iProspect with the ability to provide clients with user-personalised landing pages.