Dentsu Aegis Network has acquired a majority stake in Mumbai-based Ugam, a data and analytics firm that serves both business-to-business and business-to-consumer enterprises. Dentsu said Ugam would join Merkle, which is part of the Dentsu Aegis Network. This is the fifth transaction in 12 months for Merkle and the 13th since joining Dentsu Aegis Network in 2016, Dentsu indicated. The firms did not disclose the details of the transaction. Sunil Mirani, co-founder and chief executive officer at Ugam told FE that talks for the stake sale has been going on since the past few months.
“It started as a means to provide an exit option to one of the original founding promoters who were in a non-executive capacity. When they expressed an interest last year, we said let’s look for who is the right fix. So, we undertook this process. We wanted a new investor who could not just take the place of the early promoters but also add value to the business,” he said. Merkle is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, and has 21 additional offices in the US and 33 offices in Europe and APAC. It has around 7,000 employees. In 2016, the agency joined the Dentsu Aegis Network.
The acquisition will bring scale to Merkle’s analytics business, provide a platform for Dentsu Aegis Network and Merkle’s shared analytics services, Dentsu said.
Alex Yoder, executive VP (analytics) for Merkle, said with AI and machine learning entering the mainstream, the range of services required to maintain and extend growth requires both complexity of services and efficiency of delivery.
“As the analytics business becomes increasingly commoditised, the pressure to expand capabilities into predictive and prescriptive methodologies simultaneously intensifies,” he said.
Merkle’s majority stake in Ugam and its resulting enhanced scale and capabilities will be instrumental as we scale to effectively compete with top analytic consulting firms over the next three to five years,” he said. In February, Dentsu Aegis Network SEA had acquired 100% of Happy Marketer Group.