The buyout was expected to be announced next month but it is has been put on hold. If it had gone ahead MSLGROUP in India would have become as big as Adfactors, India’s biggest PR firm. The deal had put the value of Perfect Relations at approximately $24.3 million, about four times the firm's annual revenue.
"We still don’t have a final confirmation yet, but the deal is on hold," Bobby Kewalramani, one of the two founding partners of Perfect Relations, told Indian media.
Sources at MSLGROUP said that there is no deal with Perfect Relations, but refused further comment on whether negotiations were still ongoing. PRWeek tried to reach both agencies for comments but has thus far received no response.
The reasons for the deal being put on hold are currently unclear. Market sources say that while the due diligence had been done, the recent exit of senior staff, including Perfect Relations CEO Valerie Pinto, could have been one of the reasons. After Pinto's exit, VP operations Shashikant Someshwar was tipped to take over her role, but he quit as well after Cherian and Kewalramani took over the operational responsibility instead.
Perfect Relations, which was founded by Cherian and Kewalramani 20 years ago, is believed to be worth $10 million and has regularly attracted interested from international network agencies, including WPP and IPG, thanks to its status as the country's second-largest independent PR firm.
Since India began opening to foreign investments, a number of international agencies have entered the Indian PR industry mostly through acquisition or on their own.