Currently a 40% shareholder, Grey Advertising, New York, is in talks with Ravi Gupta and Sanjay Lalbhai, the two Indian partners who hold the rest of the equity in the Bombay-based shop. The shareholding sought isn't known. Trikaya recorded billings of $52m last year.
The acquisition is part of Grey's renewed focus on Asia, especially a market like India, where the ad industry growth rate is twice that of Europe. A decision is expected within months.
Grey's buyout plans synchronize with the existing trend in Indian advertising, where local partners have been bought out by multinational agencies.
India's six-year-old economic liberalization process has not only produced a spurt in ad spend, to about $1bn in 1995-96, but has also resulted in the increased involvement of multinational advertisers.
Multinationals currently account for 55% of the total ad spend in India and occupy almost all the top- ten advertiser positions.
Copyright February 1997, Crain Communications Inc.