Grupo ABC advertising & marketing assignments

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Grupo ABC is the umbrella for DDB's operations in Brazil, housing several separate units including flagship agencies Africa and Sunset DDB. Until its purchase by Omnicom in 2015, it was the country's largest independent marketing services group. The driving force behind the group was creative guru Nizan Guanaes, previously the managing partner and controlling shareholder in what was then DM9 DDB. He is Brazil's most prominent advertising executive, and was described by the Financial Times in 2012 as one of the five most influential Brazilians in the world. In the 1990s he established DM9 as one of Brazil's most admired creative shops, then sold a controlling stake to DDB - creating DM9 DDB - and then set about acquiring or launching a collection of other agencies under the umbrella of YPY Holding, later renamed Grupo ABC. That business was acquired by Omnicom in 2016 (for a rumoured R$1bn, or around $270m US, payable over five years), and its various agencies absorbed into the DDB network. Guanaes' business partner Guga Valente took over executive management of the business, but the next few years proved challenging. There were legal disputes with some of ABC's minority executive shareholders over the terms of the deal, other senior managers departed and some smaller agencies were sold, not least US-based Pereira & O'Dell, which was reacquired by its founders. Other subsidiaries were merged and consolidated. Loducca, a one-time local Top Ten agency, was merged with digital stablemate Salve in 2017 and adopted the Tribal DDB banner. The following year, after some damaging client defections, DM9 DDB merged with sister CRM agency Sunset to form what is now Sunset DDB. Stability had been restored by mid 2019, and at the beginning of 2020, Valente and Guanaes relinquished any remaining executive duties. (Valente remains an advisor until 2021; Guanaes now runs his own creative consultancy N Ideias). Cristiano Muniz is group CEO of ABC. What was a collection of 16 separate agencies at the time of the sale to Omnicom has been boiled down to eight. Africa remains the flagship creative agency, supported by Sunset DDB. Morya is a full-service agency with an extensive regional network within Brazil, while CDN specialises in corporate and B2B PR. There are also local outposts of Omnicom's DDB-aligned international networks Tribal, Interbrand, Track and TracyLocke.

Capsule checked 20th January 2020

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Adbrands Weekly Update 26th Nov 2015: Omnicom's DDB network is significantly enhancing its position in Brazil with the acquisition of local marketing roll-up Grupo ABC. Price was not disclosed, but Brazilian trade paper Meio & Mensagem estimated a tag of R$1bn, or $270m, to be paid over five years. The two sides are already long-established partners: ABC controls DDB's local agency in Brazil DM9DDB. However the deal will widen Omnicom's portfolio significantly, adding ABC's other units including top ten creative agency Africa as well as Loducca and several marketing services shops. In total, Grupo ABC employs around 2,000 staff in Brazil. Co-founders Nizan Guanaes and Guga Valente are expected to remain with the business.

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