Dentsu Aegis takes ownership of JaymeSyfu from DDB after two years of negotiations

Dentsu Aegis Network has finally acquired Philippine agency DM9 JaymeSyfu, taking majority ownership of the award-winning creative agency from DDB after two years of negotiations.

Dick van Motman, Merlee Cruz-Jayme, Ronald Barreiro and Alex Syfu

Dick van Motman, Merlee Cruz-Jayme, Ronald Barreiro and Alex Syfu

The news to create the new entity Dentsu JaymeSyfu emerges 10 months after the Philippine head of DDB Gil Chua told Mumbrella: “DM9 is a DDB brand and will continue to stay with DDB.”

Mumbrella learned that JaymeSyfu bosses Alex Syfu and Merlee Cruz-Jayme travelled to Tokyo to meet with Dentsu about a change of allegiance that would see the agency move out of DDB Philippines Group in 2013. But the deal did not materialise.

The announcement from Dentsu Aegis today:

Dentsu Aegis Network today announces that it signed a definitive agreement to acquire the JaymeSyfu Group, a globally celebrated agency that, among other major awards, won the Philippines’ first ever Cannes Lions Grand Prix and went on to win the same accolade at Spikes Asia as well as the Yellow Pencil at D&AD in 2013. The JaymeSyfu Group will join forces with Dentsu Philippines to form Dentsu JaymeSyfu.

Previously known as DM9JaymeSyfu, the agency was founded in October 2005 by Chairmom and Chief Creative Officer Merlee Cruz-Jayme and Chief Client Relations Alex Syfu. With General Manager Ronald Barreiro, the three of them steered the agency business to phenomenal growth. The management team will continue to lead the newly formed Dentsu JaymeSyfu business as it comes together with Dentsu Philippines, strengthening the operation by adding its creative capabilities as well as digital capabilities with Dentsu Digit and digital activation Dentsu DNA. The three-year-old Digit, a highly awarded digital agency in the Philippines will be headed by Managing Director Carlo Ople.

Campaign Asia named the JaymeSyfu Group the ‘Fifth Hottest Creative Agency in Asia’ in 2014 with Merlee Cruz-Jayme named the fifth highest awarded Creative Director in Asia. This followed a year in which the agency swept the ‘Agency of the Year Awards’ in the Philippines.

In welcoming the JaymeSyfu Group, Dick van Motman Chairman and CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Southeast Asia said: “I’m delighted to welcome JaymeSyfu to our network. We are very committed to the Philippines. Not just because it is the sixth largest advertising market in Asia Pacific, but also because it has been punching above its weight in the creative industry. We are constantly striving for creative excellence, so the opportunity to turbocharge our already strong Dentsu Philippines brand by making it come together with JaymeSyfu was too exciting for us to pass up on. Merlee, Alex and Ronald enjoy both local as well as international recognition and respect, and have built a company that represent many values that Dentsu Aegis Network stands for: innovative, pioneering and always ambitious.”

Hiroaki Charlie Sano Executive Officer of Dentsu Inc. and CEO of Dentsu branded agencies within Dentsu Aegis Network said: “Bringing the JaymeSyfu Group into the Dentsu network will establish a high quality creative-led and scaled Dentsu branded agency in the Philippines with the potential of making an even bigger regional and global footprint. To establish a creative lighthouse in Manila is an important step in our creative ambitions in the region. ”

“I’m delighted to bring my JaymeSyfu family into the Dentsu Aegis Network. This would give us a great opportunity to work closely with the team at Dentsu to build an even stronger creative offering for our clients,” said Merlee Cruz-Jayme Chairmom at Dentsu JaymeSyfu. “Being part Japanese makes this move feel like a homecoming. I’m excited and confident about the future.”

Merlee, ranked number four and the only woman in the top 20 Creative Directors in Asia in Campaign Brief Asia’s ranking for 2014, will henceforward be part of Dentsu’s Creative Council for Asia Pacific.

The deal is expected to close in early 2016.

This announcement follows less than two weeks after Dentsu Aegis Network revealed that it has acquired ASPAC Creative Communications Inc., also in the Philippines on 4 December.


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