Matthew Miller
Dec 16, 2015

Dentsu Aegis Network acquires JaymeSyfu Group in Philippines

ASIA-PACIFIC - Award-winning Philippines agency DM9 JaymeSyfu will become Dentsu JaymeSyfu as it ends its relationship with DDB and sells a majority stake to Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN).

L-R: Van Motman, Cruz-Jayme, Barreiro, Syfu
L-R: Van Motman, Cruz-Jayme, Barreiro, Syfu

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Dick van Motman, chairman and CEO of DAN Southeast Asia, told Campaign Asia-Pacific that he's had his eye on the agency for more than two years and that acquiring it is part of the network's strategy to "reignite" the Dentsu brand outside of Tokyo and to bring key creative talent into the group.

Less than two weeks ago, DAN announced it had acquired Aspac Creative Communications, another Philippines-based agency.

Merlee Cruz-Jayme, 'chairmom' (her favoured title) and chief creative officer, cited not only access to DAN's companies and technology but also the agency's 10th anniversary and her own heritage as factors in the decision.

"It is quite exciting to move forward to the next 10 years and harness innovation and technology," she said. "After winning a Grand Prix for mobile, I know that this is indeed the future for us. Lastly, I’m part Japanese; my great grandmother Okiyo Udagawa is from a Samurai clan in Yokohama. Somehow, It does feel like a homecoming." 

Van Motman said DAN is committed to the Philippines not only because it is the sixth largest APAC advertising market but also because it punches above its weight creatively. "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," he said. JaymeSyfu saw a shared vision in DAN's operating model, with an outlook to scale its presence beyond the Philippines.

"Dentsu is born out of Asia and recognises Asian values," van Motman added. "We have a strong track record when it comes to integrating businesses and we're able to move quickly."

Cruz-Jayme founded the agency in 2005 with Alex Syfu, chief client relations, and GM Ronald Barreiro. The trio will continue to lead Dentsu JaymeSyfu as it joins Dentsu Philippines, bringing with it its Digit (formerly 'Di9it') digital agency, headed by MD Carlo Ople, and a digital activation offering, to be called Dentsu DNA. Cruz-Jayme will also join Dentsu's Creative Council for Asia-Pacific. Dentsu Philippines has about 60 employees, and JaymeSyfu adds another 60. In all DAN has about 350 people in the country.

Cruz-Jayme expressed gratitude for DDB's past support. "The DDB network has given us the freedom to run our shop the way we wanted it to be," she told Campaign. "For this, I’ll always be grateful to them." 

Contacted for comment, David Tang, CEO of DDB Group Asia said, "You know Christmas is coming when the year-end window dressing goes up. We wish our friends at DM9 JaymeSyfu all the best ahead. We hope they get a big cheque from Santa Claus. Don't be too shy with Santa!"

Van Motman added that DAN is eyeing other acquisitions in Asia for integration of skills, not scale. 


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