US-based advertising agency Grey Group has acquired a majority stake in hug digital, an independent regional digital marketing agency, based in the Middle East. Founded in 2009 by Oussama Jamal, chairman and Tim Baker, CEO, Hug Digital is one of the largest and fastest growing 360-degree digital agencies in the MENA region.
hug digital provides digital campaigns, social media, content, influencer and activation marketing, web and mobile app development, media planning and buying as well as digital research, analysis and social listening.
"Grey Group's acquisition of hug digital enhances our leadership position in the MENA creative and digital space," said Nirvik Singh, chairman and CEO of Grey Group Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. "It underscores Grey's commitment to expand our offering and deliver quality, value-added services to our clients."
Headquartered in Dubai, with offices in Egypt and India, hug digital employs around 145 full-time staff. Their blue-chip client roster includes more than 70 international, regional and local brands such as Americana (Hardees, TGI Fridays, Krispy Kreme), Al-Futtaim (Al Futtaim automotive group, Toyota, Honda, Lexus), Majid Al Futtaim (Ski Dubai, Magic Planet, iFly, Little Explorer, LEGO), Commercial Bank of Dubai, Dubai Tourism, HMD Nokia, Shell, Festival City Group, Nestle's Maggi, Clorox, Sarai by MNHD and Emaar among others.
Oussama Jamal said: "We are eager to take our digital expertise and knowledge of the MENA region and scale this with WPP and Grey Group. This acquisition will enable us to access resources that will expand our capabilities and accelerate our growth."
Jamal and Baker will continue to head the hug digital operations whilst working closely with Nirvik Singh to set the overall strategic digital growth plan for the region.
"This deal cements seven years of hard collective work from our dedicated team. We are proud to become part of the world's largest communications group, WPP, partner with Grey and continue our digital journey with the same enthusiasm as the day we started hug digital," said Tim Baker.
The acquisition will bring additional benefits to clients of hug digital, including access to Grey Group's offerings in production, GreyWorks; its shopper-marketing agency, Grey DPI; and its highly-regarded creative and design technology company, Vinyl-I. Similarly, Grey Group's clients from across the globe will benefit from the digital technology and local expertise of hug digital.