Burson-Marsteller realigns with ASDA'A in Middle East Move follows WPP's acquisition of major stake in THG
Dubai, May 28, 2008: Global public relations firm Burson-Marsteller and Dubai-based ASDA’A Public Relations today announced the creation of a merged regional network covering all major Middle East markets.

The move follows the acquisition of a majority stake in Middle East communications leader The Holding Group (THG) by WPP Group plc., one of the world’s leading communications services networks. ASDA’A is part of THG and Burson-Marsteller is a part of Young & Rubicam Brands, a subsidiary of WPP Group plc.

The merged business will be renamed ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller.

Joseph Ghossoub, THG President and CEO, said the combined strengths of Burson-Marsteller’s global network and best practices and ASDA’A’s successful strategic communications delivery across the diverse Middle East market brings unparalleled reach and resources to clients across the region.

“This is a logical and positive step that will create significant opportunities for growth and development for employees and clients,” said Mr. Ghossoub.

ASDA’A was the Middle Eastern affiliate of Edelman Worldwide while Burson-Marsteller was affiliated with JiWin Public Relations, a member of Dubai-based Media Services Group.

Bill Rylance, Burson-Marsteller Vice Chairman, Global Development, said: “The realignment with ASDA’A is an obvious extension of the WPP acquisition of The Holding Group. There are clear opportunities for all Group brands to collaborate in offering services to our clients around the world and in the Middle East.”

Commenting on this significant development, Mona Al Marri, Chairperson of the Media Services Group (MSG) and CEO of JiWin, said: “We have enjoyed a fruitful relationship with B-M for over two years whereby many of our 60 corporate clients were supported across international markets. We are delighted to see that global players, such as WPP, are committed to investing resources in the UAE's media services industry and helping consolidate the country’s position as the preeminent media hub of the Middle East, which is one of our key strategic objectives as a group. We wish WPP and B-M a prosperous future.”

Mr. Rylance said: “Our partnership with JiWin has been excellent. JiWin is a strong and capable organization in a dynamic market and we have no doubt that it will go from strength to strength under the leadership of Ms. Al Marri.”