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Dentsu Aegis launches Merkle in India with Sokrati acquisition

Dentsu Aegis Network is to launch its performance marketing agency Merkle in India after acquiring local data and analytics agency Sokrati for an undisclosed sum.

(L-R) Anubhav Sonthalia, Ashish Bhasin, Ashish Mehta, Santosh Gannavarapu

The move will mark the first launch of the global agency in Asia Pacific. Following the acquisition, which is expected to be finalised this week,  Sokrati will be rebranded as Merkle | Sokrati.

The agency will be led by company co-founder Anubhav Sonthalia, who will be handed the role of chief executive officer.

He will report to Vivek Bhargava, CEO of Performance, Dentsu Aegis Network India, and Zhengda Shen, the recently appointed president of Merkle Asia Pacific.

Meanwhile, Sokrati’s co-founders Ashish Mehta and Santosh Kumar Gannavarapu will join DAN’s Indian leadership team in unspecified roles.

The acquisition comes just three months after DAN bought one of India’s largest independent digital agencies SVG Media. This new offering will be merged into the group’s APAC digital marketing agency Columbus and be renamed SVG Columbus.

Ashish Bhasin, chairman and CEO of DAN South Asia, claimed the Sokrati acquisition would make the network “more than twice the size” of its competitors in the search and performance field.

He added: “Out of 3,500 staff in India, about 1,500 will be digital professionals, and over 35 per cent of our revenue – a market-leading statistic – will come from digital.”

Shen said: “Sokrati’s data DNA, analytics-driven and performance approach to digital marketing make it a natural extension for Merkle into the Indian market. Furthermore, they are focused on expanding their CRM capabilities and connecting these capabilities across media and channels. Merkle is in a strong position to support this expansion and Sokrati’s ecommerce-heavy client base is data rich, innovative, and ready to benefit from Sokrati’s push into cross-channel marketing.”

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