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Publicis enters Palestine, buys 20% of Zoom Advertising

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MUMBAI: Publicis Groupe has become the first publicly-listed international communications group to enter the Palestinian market space, purchasing 20 per cent equity stake in Massar International‘s subsidiary Zoom Advertising based in Ramallah.

This announcement comes close on the heels of Publicis‘ announcement of the acquisition of Israeli advertising and communications firm BBR.

Post the stake acquisition, Zoom Advertising will be renamed Publicis Zoom and will be aligned with the Publicis Worldwide global network. General manager Firas Awad and managing partner Jane Masri will continue to lead the 23 employee strong company.

Palestine is the latest addition to Publicis Worldwide‘s expanding Middle East presence joining agencies in UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.

Founded in 2004, Zoom provides digital and interactive tools, has expertise in multimedia applications, and provides creative and brand strategy services. It has corporate clients across market sectors including Bank of Palestine, the Paltel Group, the Palestine Exchange, Coca-Cola, the European Union, UNICEF, UNRWA, Peugeot, Cairo-Amman Bank and the new Palestinian planned city of Rawabi.

Publicis Groupe chairman and CEO Maurice Levy said, "This transaction is important on several levels. One key element, of course, is Publicis‘ desire to serve our clients wherever they work.

But the impact of this operation extends much further than that. It is also a call to French and international companies to set up in the region and to contribute to creating the economic development without which there can be no durable peace."

Publicis Groupe COO Jean-Yves Naouri added, "Zoom Advertising‘s excellent track record in the Palestinian digital and interactive markets made it a natural partner for Publicis Groupe, with its focus on fast growing markets and digital as its two strategic pillars. The Arab world is embracing digital technology at an unprecedented pace, as was demonstrated during the events of the Arab spring, and Palestine is no exception."

Zoom board chairman Bashar Masri stated, "Today‘s deal is a key step towards the goal of fostering an enabling business environment for private sector growth and development, and I am confident that more investments like this one are on the horizon.

The fact that a Palestinian company passed the rigorous due diligence procedures of a global, publicly-listed company like Publicis Groupe should send a very strong message to the Palestinian private sector. I am particularly proud that Zoom was the company to achieve this milestone for the communications industry in Palestine."

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