David Hedengren
Last updated: 19 June, 2012

Groundbreaking Western investment in Palestinian ad agency

Publicis Groupe, the world’s third largest advertising and media conglomerate, on Monday announced the purchase of an equity stake in Ramallah-based Zoom Advertising.

The French firm’s acquisition of a 20% share in the West Bank ad agency is said to be the first investment of its kind in the Palestinian Territories. On the same day, Publicis also announced the purchase of BBR Group, a major Israeli communications groups. The two deals were hailed as important symbolic steps by Publicis’ Chairman and CEO Maurice Lévy.

“This speaks to every man’s dream of seeing peace in the Middle East and between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples,” he said in a statement. “Moreover, 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.”

Zoom was founded in 2004 and has established itself as the leading agency in the Palestinian communications industry. Pending approval of relevant authorities, the agency will be renamed Publicis Zoom and will be aligned with the Publicis Worldwide global network.

Bashar Masri, Chairman of the Board of Zoom, described the deal a key step towards fostering a business environment for private sector growth and development in the Palestinian Territories.

“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,” he said.