O&M Takes Control Of Middle East Affiliate

WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Memac Ogilvy, a leading marketing services company covering markets throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Terms were not disclosed, but the holding company said the agency posted $80 million in revenue last year.

The MENA region is one that WPP believes has significant growth potential.  It said the acquisition “continues WPP's strategy of developing its services in fast-growing markets and sectors.” ZenithOptimedia predicts that the region's ad spending will grow 7.3% this year, ahead of the global market, which the firm predicts will post a gain of 5.3%.

WPP generates about $400 million in annual revenue from the region and employs more than 3,500 people there. 

At the same time, it called out the region as one of several “grey swans” in its year-end report last month, given its ongoing political turmoil. “The prospects for the Middle-East, are probably now, if anything, better than a year ago,” the company stated in its year-end financial release.

“Although Syria remains a mess and there remain challenges in Libya and between Israel and Palestine,” the report added, “[Russian] President Putin’s intervention on the chemical weapons issue in Syria and [Iranian] President Rouhani’s initiatives from Tehran have improved the political climate. Perhaps, the next election in Egypt will also bring more stability, although the region remains generally fragile to say the least.”

In the fourth quarter, WPP reported that growth in the Middle East region slowed, while Africa posted a robust 9% increase in organic revenue growth. 

Founded in Bahrain in 1984, Memac Ogilvy has been associated with Ogilvy & Mather since 1986. O&M has been a minority shareholder since 1998. Within the Memac Ogilvy group are also the OgilvyOne, OgilvyAction, Ogilvy Public Relations, neo@Ogilvy, Geometry Global and CB'a Memac brands, as well as holding company partnership interests in Mindshare MENA, AMRB and MediaCom. 

Memac Ogilvy serves over 150 international, regional and local brands, including Almarai, Coca-Cola, Arab Bank, IBM and American Express and employs over 570 people in its 14 offices throughout the region. 

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