Publicis Groupe Acquires India-based Watermelon

Further Strengthening its Leadership in Strategic Healthcare Communications ; Publicis Healthcare Communication Group Continues Expansion in India

Mar 22, 2011, 03:00 ET from Publicis Groupe

PARIS, March 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Publicis Groupe announced today that it has agreed to acquire a majority stake in a leading healthcare advertising agency in Mumbai, India-Watermelon Healthcare Communications Private Limited ("Watermelon"). On completion of this transaction, this entity will become part of Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (PHCG) and will be renamed Publicis Life Brands Watermelon. This transaction is subject to customary local closing conditions.

As one of the leading healthcare advertising agencies in India, Watermelon is a full-service advertising agency that has built its business around traditional and new media since its inception in 2003. Nearly 40 employees work to deliver strategic planning, digital and branding, creative, medical education, research, public relations, and healthcare professional and consumer communications. Watermelon has worked hard to boost its creative excellence and has received many awards, including 12 awards of excellence at the recent Rx Awards. Watermelon's clients includes many of the top pharma and biotech companies-AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck Specialties, MSD Pharmaceuticals, and Novartis to name a few.

Watermelon's founders, Abhijit Shitut and Kiran Pai, will be named joint Managing Directors at Publicis Life Brands Watermelon. "We are excited to be part of PHCG and believe this will help us change the landscape of healthcare communications in India" commented Abhijit Shitut and Kiran Pai. "Because PHCG is revered for its excellence in global communications in the healthcare sector, we look forward to working together in leveraging their knowledge and global network in our local market";

Ash Kuchel, President, PHCG Asia Pacific region (APAC) said, "PHCG is delighted to welcome Watermelon to our network. Watermelon is the right fit and has the expertise to further develop our healthcare communications credentials in new media and best-in-class practices in this important and rapidly emerging market. PHCG will continue to expand its global presence throughout the region in the near future."

Watermelon contact information:

A to Z Industrial Premises, G.K Marg, Lower Parel (W), Mumbai 400 013, India

About Publicis Groupe

Publicis Groupe [listed on the Euronext Paris Exchange - FR0000130577 - and part of the CAC 40 index] is the world's third largest communications group. With activities spanning 104 countries on five continents, Publicis Groupe employs approximately 49,000 professionals and offers local and international clients a complete range of advertising services through three global networks: Leo Burnett, Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi, and numerous agencies including Fallon, 49%-owned Bartle Bogle Hegarty, and Kaplan Thaler Group. VivaKi combines digital and media expertise, allowing clients to connect with consumers in a holistic way, with Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia worldwide media networks; and interactive and digital marketing led by Digitas and Razorfish networks. VivaKi develops new services, tools, and next generation digital platforms. Publicis Groupe offers healthcare communications with Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (PHCG, the first global network in healthcare communications). And with MSLGROUP, one of the world's top five PR and Events networks, also provides expertise in corporate and financial communications, public affairs, branding, and social media marketing.

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About Publicis Healthcare Communications Group

Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (PHCG) is the largest health-oriented agency network in the world. A division of Publicis Group, PHCG manages top-tier agencies specializing in promoting innovative solutions in advertising, medical education, sales and marketing, digital, market access, and medical and scientific affairs. PHCG is dedicated to delivering ideas of purpose that compel action, change lives, and amplify business outcomes. With nearly 3,000 employees, PHCG manages 17 agency brands through 45 offices located in 11 countries. For more information, visit:


    Publicis Groupe

    Peggy Nahmany, Corporate Communications
    + 33(0)1-44-43-72-83

    Martine Hue, Investor Relations
    + 33(0)1-44-43-65-00

    Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (PHCG)

    Rosemary Abendroth, Global Communications


    Abhijit Shitut, Joint Managing Director
    + 91-224-057-6999

    Kiran Pai, Joint Managing Director
    + 91-224-057-6904

SOURCE Publicis Groupe