Global advertising network TBWA and the Rizk Group have ended their 11-year affiliation in Lebanon.
The split means that TBWA\Rizk no longer exists, with the Rizk Group forming a new affiliation with the Havas Group to create Rizk Group Havas. France-based Havas is the parent company of Euro RSCG, MPG and Havas Digital and has been present in the Middle East since it signed a joint venture with the Chalhoub Group in 2003.
André Rizk, chairman of the Rizk Group, said: “Our partnership with Havas was fundamentally due to the superb synergies that were identified between both groups. Our affiliation with TBWA was done on the basis of us being one agency operating in Lebanon. By 2011 we had become a network of seven agencies operating in six different countries across the region.
“In addition, our future prospects and plans were set for growing further on a regional level and service offerings to cover advertising, media, PR, and digital. That roadmap to success was more in sync, and in our perspective, better realised with a partnership with Havas. The cooperation, mutual understanding, and shared aspirations of the leadership in both groups made the agreement a seamless process of partnership and a natural choice for us at Rizk Group.”
TBWA and the Rizk Group had been working together since 2001. The ending of the relationship means that TBWA\Raad, which is headquartered in Dubai, is in a position to open an office in Beirut.
It is understood that the Rizk Group’s ownership has not changed. Pierre Soued, managing director of Euro RSCG Middle East, which is 50 per cent owned by Havas in the region, said the purchase of a stake in the group was a possibility. “Havas now has an affiliation with the Rizk Group, which will most probably be converted into a joint venture. If we decide to go to phase two, which is partnership, we will be purchasing equity from the Rizk Group.”
Rizk Group was founded in 1965 and has operations in Syria, Qatar, Yemen, Sudan and Afghanistan.