Dentsu Aegis Network acquires Sokrati, launches Merkle in India

Dentsu Aegis Network has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Sokrati, India’s leading data-driven performance marketing and analytics agency, launching Merkle in the country. According to the press release, this is the first launch of the global data-driven performance marketing agency in the Asia Pacific region.

Founded in 2009, Sokrati is headquartered in Pune and employs a staff of 120 digital marketing professionals. The company develops its integrated marketing offering with the help of data analytics, CRM based marketing and the integration of offline data and hyperlocal marketing, with a focus on the automotive, telecommunications and banking and financial services sectors. It offers digital and performance marketing with deep specialisation in e-commerce, with service lines encompassing search and performance, social, re-targeting, display and video production, and product ads.

Post-acquisition, Sokrati will be rebranded as Merkle | Sokrati, further scaling Dentsu Aegis India’s data and performance marketing offering. The co-founders of Sokrati – Ashish Mehta, CEO, Anubhav Sonthalia, enterprise business head, and Santosh Kumar Gannavarapu, head of innovations, will be joining the Dentsu Aegis Network leadership team in India.

Anubhav Sonthalia will be the CEO of Merkle | Sokrati and will report to Vivek Bhargava, CEO of performance, Dentsu Aegis Network India, and Zhengda Shen, president of Merkle Asia Pacific.

Ashish Bhasin, chairman and CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network South Asia, explained that Sokrati’s strong ability in CRM and data is able to accelerate the launch of Merkle in India, and further bolster the company’s data practice, which is becoming increasingly critical in all aspects of its business.

Bhasin is confident that with Sokrati, the company will be twice the size of any of its competitors in search and performance, with 1,500 staff out of 3500 staff in India being digital professionals, and 35% of its revenue coming from digital.

Furthermore, it gives clients added value, as the company brings CRM and data “into the heart of (its) digital offering”. He added that with Dentsu Aegis Network India already being a leader in performance marketing services, coupled with iProspect and the recent acquisition of SVG, the complementary addition of Sokrati will enable the network to take a clearly dominant position in the rapidly growing Indian digital advertising market.

According to the press release, the deal is expected to close this week.

“India is the fastest growing large economy in the world. It is on track for 400 million smartphone users, making it second only to China, and has emerged as a major e-commerce market. Sokrati’s strength in mobile, e-commerce, data, analytics and performance media provides an ideal basis from which to launch Merkle in India as we develop the roll-out plan for Asia Pacific. We will develop the unique M1 addressable media platform for India as a next step,” Nick Waters, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Asia Pacific, said.