Dentsu Aegis Network’s Merkle takes majority stake in Indian analytics firm Ugam

Dentsu Aegis Network has acquired a majority stake in Ugam a data and analytics company based in India. It will now become a part of Merkle, DAN’s performance marketing agency. The acquisition is in synch with DAN’s gameplan to take on the leading analytic consulting firms over the next three to five years.

Founded in 2000, Ugam has over 1,800 employees across India, the US and Australia. On its website, the retail and research oriented firm said that it works with five of the top10 US retailers, four of the leading Australian retailers, many of the world’s largest brands and online marketplaces, and 13 of the top 25 market research firms. 

A note from DAN said: “Ugam represents one of the largest transactions in Merkle’s history. Its comprehensive set of solutions are highly complementary to Merkle’s existing capabilities. 

“Its analytical sophistication and proprietary frameworks and tools will add new capabilities to Merkle’s existing service lines. 

The acquisition is also expected to feed into M1, Dentsu Aegis Network’s insights, planning, activation, and measurement platform. 

The business has been renamed as Ugam, a Merkle Company. Its co-founder and CEO Sunil Mirani will now report to Merkle Americas president Craig Dempster. The current crop of senior leaders at Ugam are expected to play a key role in the growth of the company, according to DAN.

This is the fifth transaction in 12 months for Merkle and the thirteenth since joining Dentsu Aegis Network in 2016. Merkle had acquired the Singapore-based Happy Marketer earlier this year. 

Speaking about the deal, 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.”

Mirani added: “We complement each other’s strengths, with Ugam bringing advanced analytics capabilities at scale, and Merkle bringing a diverse client base with a largely in-country presence. 

“Most importantly, the cultural fit was evident from day one, and the effects will be immensely positive for all our stakeholders – customers, employees, and shareholders.”

Merkle’s executive vice president for analytics Alex Yoder said: “With artificial intelligence 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.

“Merkle’s majority stake in Ugam will be instrumental as we scale to effectively compete with top analytic consulting firms over the next three to five years.”


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