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DAN’s Merkle makes largest ever acquisition with India-based data firm Ugam

Dentsu Aegis Network’s Merkle has acquired a majority stake in India-based data and analytics company Ugam. Represented as one of the largest transactions in Merkle’s history, Ugam will now be rebranded as Ugam, a Merkle Company.

Bringing its analytical sophistication and proprietary frameworks and tools, Ugam aims to add new capabilities to Merkle’s existing service lines. The company looks to bring scale to Merkle’s analytics business, provide a platform for Dentsu Aegis Network and Merkle’s shared analytics services, and offer a complete and scaled analytics-based services layer for M1, Dentsu Aegis Network’s people-based insights, planning, activation, and measurement platform.

Ugam was founded in 2000, and its analytics and digital solutions include retail analytics, survey analytics, technology implementation, data engineering, and digital product content solutions. The company will now focus on the same target markets and Fortune 500 companies as Merkle and Dentsu Aegis Network.

In addition, the Ugam business will be led by Sunil Mirani (pictured), co-founder and chief executive officer, reporting to Craig Dempster, president, Merkle Americas. Reporting structures for the rest of the management team of Ugam will remain unchanged, as the rest of the senior leaders will continue to play a key role in the growth plans of the company. Marketing has reached out to Ugam and Merkle for additional information.

According to Mirani, this acquisition complements both parties’ strengths, with Ugam bringing advanced analytics capabilities at scale and Merkle bringing a diverse client base with a largely in-country presence. He added that most importantly, the cultural fit with Merkle was evident from the start, and the effects will be “immensely positive” for all of Ugam’s stakeholders, customers, employees, and shareholders.

Meanwhile, Dempster said Ugam is vital to the execution of Merkle’s multi-year analytics strategy of creating a scaled on- and offshore shared analytics service across Dentsu Aegis Network.

“With its experienced management team, highly-educated workforce, scale, and vertical market expertise, Ugam will bring high-end analytics capabilities, along with a broad spectrum of analytical decision support. Their focus on the US market and Fortune 500 companies will create many synergies and strengthen our existing relationships, opening opportunities for each of our client portfolios,” he added.

This comes as Alex Yoder, executive vice president, analytics for Merkle said the US marketing and media analytics industry is growing increasingly competitive, diverse and global. With artificial intelligence and machine learning entering the mainstream, Yoder was of the view that 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. 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.

Merkle continues to grow strongly in the Americas and around the world. This new acquisition comes as the fifth transaction in a year for Merkle and the 13th since joining Dentsu Aegis Network in 2016. Closer to home, Merkle acquired independent digital agency Happy Marketer Group in February this year.

Post-acquisition, it has been rebranded as Happy Marketer, a Merkle Company – aimed at providing a strategic foundation for Merkle’s data, analytics, and CRM solutions, further enabling the agency to deliver people-based marketing at scale across the region. The 55-strong and growing Happy Marketer team specialise in providing data, analytics, CRM, performance marketing, and marketing technology to power data-driven customer experience solutions for its clients, extending Merkle’s full breadth of services across Southeast Asia.

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