BPG Media ties up with WPP's Maxus

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At last! Avi Bhojani, the group chief executive of BPG Group, Kelly Clark, the chief executive of Maxus Worldwide and Satish Mayya, the chief operating officer of BPG Media seal the deal at the Maxus Worldwide headquarters in New York. (Photo courtesy BPG Group)

BPG Group's media planning and buying arm has tied up with Maxus, a subsidiary of the WPP media company GroupM, to create a new regional entity, BPG Maxus.

The deal represents the second international tie-up for a BPG subsidiary this year, following its recent deal with WPP's marketing consultancy, Blue, to form BPG Blue.

"Our media business gets a regional identity, and we get access to all the proprietary tools of GroupM, so we have access to the same quality of information as the WPP company whether it is Mindshare or MEC or Mediacom," said Avi Bhojani, the chief executive of BPG Group. "So that's extremely valuable to us."

WPP, Martin Sorrell's international advertising and media empire, has a long history with BPG, formerly known as Bates Pan Gulf, and today maintains a 40 per cent stake in the company. Bates was formerly a WPP brand in the region.

However, it has been a while since WPP's best known brands have stood side-by-side with BPG brands in the region. The last time before this recent push was when WPP's public relations agency, Burson-Marsteller, tied up with BPG PR in an exclusive partnership. That ended in 2008, when Burson-Marsteller joined forces with the regional PR agency Asda'a to create Asda'a Burson-Marsteller.

The media deal has been in the works for some time. Mr Bhojani said it nearly wen through in 2006, the year Maxus was created, but was derailed by WPP's purchase of the Grey Group.

Now, Maxus has matured and narrowed its focus, moving its headquarters from London to New York, he said, making the deal better for both sides.

"It's really become a media company for the digital age," he said. "That does not mean that they only buy digital, quite the contrary, but their business model is very lean."

Forming a partnership with an existing media agency in the Middle East is part of this lean strategy, he said.

"What they are saying is, we don't need to have offices in all parts of the world," he said. "We will have offices in strategic locations, and in the non-strategic locations, we will use the WPP companies to reach local markets."

These includes WPP media subsidiaries such as Mindshare, MediaCom and Mediaedge: cia, which also fall under the GroupM umbrella.

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