Grey Group has acquired a 70 percent majority stake in hug digital, an independent regional digital marketing agency, based in the Middle East. The agency was founded in 2009 by its Chairman Oussama Jamal and Tim Baker, who is woking in the capacity of Chief Executive Officer.
Hug Digital’s audited revenue for the year ended 2016 was approximately AED 19 million, with gross assets on the same date of approximately AED 7.4 million.
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. It underscores Grey’s commitment to expand our offering and deliver quality, value-added services to our clients,” said Nirvik Singh, Chairman and CEO, Grey Group Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa.
Headquartered in Dubai and with offices in Egypt and India, hug digital employs around 145 full-time staff. Its 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.
“We’re very excited about our new partnership. 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,” said Mr Jamal.
In their current roles, Mr Jamal and Mr Baker will continue to head the hug digital operations whilst working closely with Mr 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 Mr 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 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.