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WPP buys third Korean agency

SEOUL - WPP Group has bought its third agency in South Korea, the world's ninth largest advertising market, with the acquisition of digital firm Lee & Jang.

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After the acquisition of the majority stake, the agency will become part of OgilvyOne Korea.

Lee & Jang, which specialises in web design and development, is a six-year-old agency. It employs 35 staff and has a list of local and international clients that include Daewoo Securities, Samsung Securities and Citibank.

The acquisition of Lee & Jang follows WPP's Wunderman network buying Seoul-based marketing services businesses SRP Corporation and ComHaus Korea in October.

Prior to that, WPP opened a joint office between its South Korean ad agency Diamond Ad and Ogilvy & Mather to form Diamond Ogilvy Group in an attempt to make deeper inroads in to the Korean market, which like Japan has proved difficult for the Western international ad holding companies to crack.

That hook-up represented the first time a Korean agency had fully joined with an international ad network. Lee & Jang will become part of this set-up, which also includes: O&M Advertising; OgilvyOne; and Ogilvy PR.

Ken Mandel, vice-president of digital at OgilvyOne Asia Pacific, said: "In Korea, we see an increased demand from companies for digital marketing and search as well as a substantial need to revitalize their entire web presence with higher quality websites. These websites are quickly becoming the centre of their marketing and communications strategy."

Prior to setting up Lee & Jang the agency's founders, Jjuna Lee and Eric Jang, held senior positions at OpenTide (eSamsung web consulting group) and Cheil Communications, a subsidiary of Samsung group.

Lee, co-CEO of Lee & Jang, said: "This agreement will certainly allow us to provide more valuable services to our clients by integrating digital media with different parts of marketing communication disciplines. We also believe that the strong global brand will contribute to sales and market share increase."

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