TBWA\South Africa secures 51% stake in Openco

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TBWA\South Africa has increased its stake in marketing communications agency Openco to 51% from a previous holding of 30% in order to augment the group’s advertising footprint.

“TBWA\South Africa has had an interest in Openco for some time now so the decision to increase our stake is not one of expediency but rather a long-term strategic move to help the group expand, both in South Africa and the rest of the continent,” said Derek Bouwer, Group Chief Executive of TBWA\South Africa.

“As an independent entity within the group, Openco will be in a position to collaborate with other group companies, but also to service clients that may be in opposition to existing accounts currently being serviced by other TBWA\ companies.”

Established in 2008, the 30 professionals communications agency counts among its clients such auspicious names as Hollard, Google, the JD Group, Kaizer Chiefs, Vodacom and Alstom.

After a particularly active year of pitching in 2013, the company won several accounts in the final quarter of the year, including the SABC, SA Express, UNISA and Sasol’s below-the-line business.

With extensive experience in servicing clients in Africa’s telecommunications industry, Openco is also an ideal candidate to capture the opportunity presented by one of the fastest growing sectors on the continent.

TBWA’s objective is to rapidly integrate Openco into the group’s sub-networks with one of the key ambitions being its future positioning as the African representative of TBWA’s Paris-led brand communications consultancy, BEING.
As part of the transaction, the founders of Openco, managing director, Sean Donovan; creative director, Louis Gavin; and business development director, Monde Africa will transfer 5% of the company to an employee share trust for previously disadvantaged individuals.

“When we started Openco in 2008, one of our key objectives was to establish a company that reflected our commitment to black economic empowerment and the transformation of South Africa’s economic landscape,” said Donovan.

“This transaction allows us to do that, not only do we achieve majority black ownership, we also establish ourselves as the local champion of a global business with the opportunity to build a pan-African footprint”

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