M&C Saatchi Follows Tech Giants Into Israel

U.K.-Based Network Starts Tel Aviv Expansion Drive With Agency Purchase

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Tzun Golan, Alon Hochdorf and Anat Ben-Natan
Tzun Golan, Alon Hochdorf and Anat Ben-Natan

M&C Saatchi is expanding its network into Israel, following big tech companies -- including Facebook and Apple -- by opening up in Tel Aviv.

The agency is acquiring a majority stake in four-year-old ad agency Ben-Natan Golan, which will be rebranded M&C Saatchi Tel Aviv.

Moray MacLennan, worldwide CEO at M&C Saatchi, said in a statement, "We are starting M&C Saatchi Tel Aviv for two reasons. Firstly because we have found three exceptional partners who share our entrepreneurial spirit. Secondly, the high concentration of hi-tech industries is of particular interest for future investment."

Tel Aviv has been dubbed Silicon Wadi ("wadi" is "valley" in Hebrew), and the manufacture of technology products is now Israel's biggest industry, according to the agency. During 2013, 61 NASDAQ-listed companies came out of Israel, more than from Europe, Japan, Korea and China combined, the agency claimed.

Alon Hochdorf, CEO at M&C Saatchi Tel Aviv, said in a statement, "Chutzpah is intrinsic to Israeli society and also part of the Saatchi DNA. Our agency in Tel Aviv stands at the center of creative thinking and technological innovation – we hope to add some new ingredients to M&C Saatchi's future story."

M&S Saatchi already has offices in the Middle East, in Beirut, Lebanon, and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. (Middle East offices became a priority in 2012 when M&C Saatchi won the global account for Etihad Airlines, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates). Last year the agency, which has 23 offices in 19 countries, opened in New Delhi, took a one-third stake in SS+K in New York, and bought U.K. agency Lean Mean Fighting Machine to merge with its London shop.

The management team at M&C Saatchi Tel Aviv will remain the same following the deal. Anat Ben-Natan will be client services director, while Tzur Golan, who has won 12 Lions at the Cannes Lions festival, will be creative director and co-CEO with Alon Hochdorf, who joined the agency six months ago from ZenithOptimedia in Israel. Mr. Hochdorf is also a mentor in the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator Incubator, where he assists local start-ups.

Ben-Natan Golan's clients include Land Rover, Jack Wolfskin and Rafa Pharmaceuticals, as well as Israeli retail brand Reekushet.

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