NEW DELHI--Weber Shandwick has completed the buyout of Indian firm Corporate Voice, finally giving the IPG firm a substantial wholly-owned presence in one of Asia's key markets.
The deal, with Corporate Voice majority owner MAA Holdings, sees Weber Shandwick increase its ownership to 100 percent, 17 years after Shandwick bought a 40 percent equity stake in the Indian firm.
While Weber Shandwick's Asia-Pacific footprint has seen considerable expansion during the past decade, India has remained something of an anomaly for the agency. Weber Shandwick now joins its international rivals in owning an Indian agency, in this case one of the country's oldest after being founded in 1986 by MAA chairman Bunty Peerbhoy.
“We have developed enormous respect for Bunty and the way in which, over many years, he has built a business in India with very firm foundations for the long term," Weber Shandwick Asia-Pacific chairman Tim Sutton told the Holmes Report.
“That respect meant that we were never going to force the ownership issue prematurely simply for the sake of waving a flag in India. Both we and Bunty feel the Indian market has now come of age and we agree together that the time is right to realize the full potential of Weber Shandwick’s capabilities and resources in the market.”
Corporate Voice Weber Shandwick (CVWS) has grown to become one of India's top PR firms in recent years, winning Holmes Report Consultancy of the Year honours in 2011 along with recognition at the Cannes Lions and SABRE Awards. Headquartered in New Delhi, the firm also has offices in Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata.
Peerbhoy will remain chairman of CVWS, with Atul Ahluwahlia and Dilip Yadav retaining their existing roles as president and executive vice president, respectively. Ahluwahlia will now report directly to Sutton.
“I am delighted to welcome CVWS into full membership of the wider Weber Shandwick family," said Weber Shandwick CEO Andy Polansky. "For the past 16 years, Weber Shandwick and CVWS have built a close relationship that has benefitted clients across industry sectors. We have always considered Bunty Peerbhoy to be a valuable partner and supporter of building important capabilities, and we are very pleased that he will continue to serve as our chairman in India."
“We have always believed in a deep long-term relationship with Weber Shandwick," added Peerbhoy. "Both parties have always been hugely committed to each other and it is that trust and friendship which makes this feel like such a right and natural step.”