The Chairman of Troyka Group, Mr. Biodun Shobanjo, and the Chairman/CEO of Publicis Groupe, Mr. Maurice Levy, at the Partnership Deal signing ceremony at the Publicis Groupe head office…recently

by Raheem Akingbolu

The speculation has been on for months that Biodun Shobanjo’s Troyka Holdings was acquiring all the assets and liabilities of the global network, Publicis, in Nigeria. Few days ago, the insinuation was put to rest as top management staff of the two organisations addressed the media in Lagos and announced that the marriage was real.

Following the consummation of equity partnership between the global agency networks and the Nigerian agency, Shobanjo announced the beginning of the landmark equity acquisition relationship between the two companies.

He said before the consummation of the relationship, Publicis had terminated existing relationship with other agencies in Nigeria. “Which legally means that they are free and totally unencumbered to move their businesses, their brands to wherever they chose to,” Shobanjo said.

The terms of the deal, which has been in the works since 2013 make Publicis a part-owner of Troyka with a 25 per cent equity holding. The Nigerian agency network will on the other hand become the sole representative of the global network in Nigeria. That means they will fully warehouse the Publicis brands as its full-fledged partner in Nigeria. “What we have is an equity partnership situation. They are part owners of Troyka, it naturally means that Troyka as a member of the Publicis family will inherit all the assets and liabilities that Publicis has in this market,” Shobanjo said.

This partnership makes Troyka the first Nigerian agency network to seal a foreign equity partnership with a top global agency. But the first stage of the relationship will only involve six of Publicis global brands and they include Publicis World Wide (Advertising), Zenith Optimedia, Starcom Mediavest Group (Media Independent), MSL (Public Relations), Nurun (Digital/Technology), Leo Burnett & Saatchi (Advertising).

Shobanjo has said the relationship could be expanded beyond the six Publicis brands should the need arise in future.

“The relationship between us and Publicis is a partnership relationship. Any brand that Publicis own anywhere in the world; we have absolute right to trade with those names in this market. We have only just started with six as we go along and identify other brands and services that would serve the needs of our clients here we would start such businesses,” the Troyka helmsman said.

With this relationship, Troyka, which is one of the most dominant agencies in Nigeria, having worked on some of the biggest brands in Nigeria and abroad, will become even more dominant as the network will now have unfettered access to the creative and intellectual resources in Publicis Groupe, which is the third biggest agency network in the world with 76 000 staff and offices in 108 countries.

Shobanjo also addressed concerns of a possible change in management, insisting that the management unit of the company will remain as presently constituted, adding that should there be a need for change, the company has a well-structured succession plan to produce leaders from within it ranks.

Until now, there have only been affiliation relationships between Nigerian networks and foreign agencies. But analysts believe the deal could set in motion series of other acquisition relationship. And there are reports that some agency networks are already in discussions with top foreign partners.

Considering Troyka’s status in the industry before the alignment, it is easy to conclude that bigger surprises are coming. Over the years, Shobanjo, as captain of the ship, has carefully selected his team and built a huge marketing empire that has stood the test of time. Today, he is not only a rallying point but a pacesetter. With this new development, Troyka has thus caught a big fish with many expectations. The next few months will however determine what response from competition would be.