WPP may own 26.7 per cent of Arun Nanda’s agency Rediffusion-Y&R but the veteran Indian adman is having a high old time tweaking the tail of the world’s biggest marcoms company – and its equally combative boss Sir Martin Sorrell.
Earlier this week it announced that it was partnering with indie PR giant Edelman to handle conglomerate Tata (rather than a WPP company such as Hill & Knowlton) and now it’s getting into bed with French marcoms company Havas to offer media services.
Havas’ media agency MPG and Rediffusion’s media brand TME will offer planning and buying services to clients of Rediffusion-Y&R and its subsidiary Everest Brand Solutions. WPP’s media agencies include MediaCom, Mindshare and MEC, all of which are bigger than MPG.
Nanda says:“WPP is a minority shareholder and we respect that. But business requirements demand that we use other channels as well.”
WPP riposts (through clenched teeth): “We remain a minority shareholder in Rediffusion and hope its performance improves.”
Sorrell has been trying to increase WPP’s stake in Rediffusion for years now but Nanda and his partner Ajit Balakrishnan are determined that the company remains Indian and, with 60 per cent of the shares, are in a good position to do so.
Sorrell is surely planning vengeance (WPP agencies have recently pinched Airtel and Colgate-Palmolive, two of Rediffusion’s biggest accounts, see link above). But what will he do?