by Herman Manson (@marklives) M&C Saatchi Group and Avatar South Africa have officially “parted ways”, a joint statement by the two groups has confirmed.
“Zibusiso Mkhwanazi (Founder M&N Brands, the holding company for Avatar) and Jerry Mpufane, Chairman of M&C SAATCHI Group (Johannesburg) have confirmed that the two companies will amicably part and go their separate ways,” the statement reads.
“M&N Brands has embarked on a path to build a Pan-African network, thus realizing a long-held dream. M&C SAATCHI Group already operates a very successful African network of its own, servicing clients in more than 20 markets on the continent.
“Both companies emphasise that they part as friends, and that there may be further opportunities to collaborate in the future.”
When contacted, Mkhwanazi had the following to say: “Our vision is to create an agency network for Africans by Africans, and it is rolling out quickly. So the decision to focus on M&N Brands African ambitions does mean a parting of ways. Obviously, we hope to collaborate with a number of agencies, including MC Saatchi Abel when opportunities arise. Veli and I have a huge amount of admiration and respect for Mike and Jerry and the team, and we all remain great friends.”
In January 2017, it was announced that Avatar Investment Holdings (later rebranded as M&N Holdings) would acquire a minority stake in M&C Saatchi’s South African agency network, which today includes M&C Saatchi Abel, M&C Saatchi Connect, M&C Saatchi Africa, Dalmatian, Levergy and Creative Spark. At the same time, M&C Saatchi PLC would acquire a 20% stake in the agency Avatar from Avatar Investment Holdings.
The deal was supposed to allow for “collaboration and an exchange of resources” between Avatar and M&C Saatchi PLC’s SA agencies. AVATAR has also been sharing premises with M&C Saatchi PLC’s Johannesburg agencies.