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Memeburn has it on good authority that French mega agency Publicis is on the verge of securing a deal that will see it acquire The Creative Counsel for a rumored R1-billion. The deal is understood to be the biggest in South African agency history.
According to a number of industry sources, the deal has been in the works for some time now. Despite rumours that there were a number of rocky patches during negotiations, Memeburn now understands that the Competition Commission is sending out emails to people within the industry to sound out their views on the potential buyout.
Memeburn has approached The Creative Counsel for comment and will update the story accordingly.
Update: Representatives from The Creative Counsel told Memeburn that they were “not at liberty” to disclose the particulars of the deal.
Founded by Gil Oved and Ran Neu-Ner in 2001, The Creative Counsel is one of the biggest players in the South African advertising space. According to the company’s website, The Creative Counsel currently boasts a group of 650 staff members who run over 300 campaigns a year, nationally.
Read more: Confirmed: Publicis buys out Machine
As well as his role within the agency, Oved came to the attention of South African television watchers in late 2014 when he was one of the judges on the local edition of Dragons’ Den.
In 2014, Marklives founder Herman Manson reported that The Creative Counsel was the only South African agency group earning more than R250-million in annual revenues.
The company primarily works in the below-the-line space and has investments in a number of other advertising plays operating across a number of fields, including events and activations, and creative conceptualisations. Its most notable investment in the digital space is in PopiMedia, which specialises in social media strategy development and campaign creation.
It’s unclear how an acquisition would affect these investments.
If the deal goes through, it would be Publicis’ biggest South African scalp to date.
In 2013, it bought out search-focused agency Synergize and merged it with Saatchi and Saatchi. And in 2014, it acquired Liquorice through its Dutch subsidiary DigitasLBI as well as Machine, the ultra cool digital agency founded by Adrian Hewlett.