Global marketing giant Entravision enters Pakistan

Acquires strategic stake in local digital marketing firm Jack of Digital
Apr 28, 2022

US-based global marketing firm Entravision has expanded its operations to Pakistan after it acquired a strategic stake in Jack of Digital, a local digital marketing services company that serves as the exclusive advertising sales partner of TikTok in Pakistan.

The strategic investment was announced in a joint communique released by Entravision and Jack of Digital on Thursday.

The investment is the first time a global advertising firm which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has decided to enter Pakistan. The partnership will allow Entravision to expand its commercial partnership reach across the South Asian region and even solidify inroads in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

“Entravision’s investment in Jack of Digital is a turning point for our company, and we look forward to partnering together to bring the best in digital media to the South Asian marketplace,” said Faisal Sheikh, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Jack of Digital in the statement.

“Having spent the past two decades working in the marketing and advertising industries, I have had the opportunity to partner with many different innovative digital players, and I believe having a company like Entravision to support our digital media business in South Asia will be a game-changer,” he stated.

The transaction, which is subject to customary governmental approvals, will see Jack of Digital retain all employees with Faisal Sheikh continuing to serve as the CEO based out of its headquarters in Karachi.

Although an industry veteran, Sheikh only founded Jack of Digital two years ago. But within that time, he managed to secure partnerships with four of the world’s top advertising, marketing and data platforms including an exclusive advertising and data sales representations in Pakistan for short-form video platform TikTok, full-stack programmatic platform Eskimi, app entertainment tool SHAREit and ad fraud protection service Spider AF.

Talking to SAMAA Digital, Sheikh said this is the first time a company of the profile of Entravision has undertaken such acquisition of a local company. Noting that Thursday’s announcement will translate into direct investments for Pakistan, he said that it also bodes well from the business development perspective as well as it will allow Pakistani firms to work in other parts of the world.

Briefly explaining the finer points of the deal, he said that at the moment, the majority stake will remain in local control, though that is subject to change over the length of the partnership. He added that it was their expertise in the specific field, the particular organizational structure of the company and the success in a short period and regional experience were among the key factors that clinched the deal.

However, he was clear that in a hotly contested neighbourhood, it was a challenge to convince Entravision to back a Pakistani company.

“We managed to change the perception of a US company convincing them on the strength of local expertise and volume,” he said, adding, “getting TikTok on board was a demonstration of our fortitude.”

With India a major market, Sheikh stated that there was no comparison with companies operating there. However, Pakistan too has a not-so-significant population of around a quarter of a billion people and together with other countries in the South Asian marketplace, it still makes up a significant number of people.

Asked about the true extent of the opportunity that this acquisition signifies, Sheikh said that the deal means they will get access to more technology, greater centralization of the company’s operations, synergy, and access to Entravision’s dynamic portfolio that includes digital, television and audio offerings which comprise major global platforms such as Meta, Twitter, TikTok and Spotify.

In return, Sheikh said that Jack of Digital will be able to work in other parts of the world. It will also mean greater global opportunities for local talent.

“Blooming talent here will create mobility for us and them,” he said.

For Entravision, there is a clear benefit to the deal, from the expansion of its operations into a high-growth region and to expanding its geographic network of exclusive partnerships with TikTok.

“We are very excited to announce our strategic investment in Jack of Digital, opening the door for Entravision to the South Asia market,” said Juan Saldívar, the Chief Digital, Strategy and Accountability Officer for Entravision.

“Jack of Digital’s exclusive partnership with TikTok in Pakistan builds upon our recent exclusivity with TikTok in South Africa through our acquisition of 365 Digital this past November,” he said, adding that the investment means Entravision now provides creative digital advertising and marketing services in over 35 countries.

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