French-Jewish advertiser enters Israeli and Palestinian markets

NEW YORK (JTA) — Maurice Levy, the Jewish CEO of Publicis, is bringing the French advertising firm into the Palestinian and Israeli communications markets.

Levy announced a deal to buy the Israeli ad agency network BBR Group. On Monday, Publicis said it purchased a 20 percent stake in the Ramallah-based company Zoom Advertising. Publicis, one of the world’s largest advertising holding companies, said in a statement that it is the first publicly listed Western communications group to enter the Palestinian market.

Terms of the deals were not reported, according to Reuters.

The new company, Publicis Zoom, has clients that include Coca-Cola, Peugeot and the Bank of Palestine.

BBR Group, with 220 employees, is also the parent company of other agency brands with clients that include DeLak Motors; the cable TV concern Hot; the banking entity Isracard; Procter & Gamble; the food and beverage company Strauss; and the retailer Super Pharm.

Levy said in a statement that he believes the way to build lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians is through strong economies.

“Symbolically, this speaks to every man’s dream of seeing peace in the Middle East and between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples,” Levy said.

Bashar Masri, the board chairman of Zoom, also expressed his confidence that the deal was a positive signal for the Palestinian private sector.

"Today’s deal is a key step towards the goal of fostering an enabling business environment for private sector growth and development, and I am confident that more investments like this one are on the horizon," Masri said in a news release.

Publicis has been expanding its presence in the Middle East with agencies in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
 

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