WPP acquires majority stake in leading Middle East venture

WPP announces that it has acquired a majority stake in Team Y&R Holdings, the region’s largest diversified communications conglomerate, founded by Talal Makdessi (ArabAd Man of the Year 2007), established in 1997 and in which WPP has held a minority stake since 1999, and which operates in the MENA region.

THG’s Chairman is Talal Makdessi & Chairman and World President of IAA Joseph Ghossoub is the Director and CEO.

The Holding Group (THG) a.k.a Team , operates through a wide and diversified range of expertise by companies including Team Y&R, Asda’a [its PR unit], Intermarkets, Mediaedge:cia [the media buying unit], Polaris [another PR firm] and Wunderman.

Team Group has significant operations in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Morocco, Jordan, Qatar and Oman and employs over 1,200 people. Major clients include Emaar, Etisalat, Alpha Telecom, Royal Jordanian, Almaza Beer, Winston, Ford, LG Electronics, Mashreq Bank, Microsoft, Sony Ericsson, Commercial Bank of Kuwait and Visa.

Team Group’s claimed revenues of US$100 million for 2007, with gross assets of US$242 million.

Such a hulking investment is a first its kind; an acquisition that speaks by itself, and where it looks like WPP has more surprises in store coming our way; as this unexpected move confirms WPP’s new strategy, of a full load roll out and networks development, in fast growing markets and sectors.

Originally published in ArabAd, March 2008

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