US integrated group adds Grifco and Ophir to UK acquisition spree

Following its takeover of Hills Balfour earlier this year, US integrated group MMGY Global has acquired Grifco and sister agency Ophir PR.

MMGY Global president & COO Chris Campos and Grifco founder & MD Claire Griffin
MMGY Global president & COO Chris Campos and Grifco founder & MD Claire Griffin

The travel and hospitality marketing group, which added Hills Balfour to its overseas presence in March, has taken over boutique, travel-focussed agencies Grifco and its sister company Ophir PR, both which will remain based London.

The agencies specialise in PR and social media in the luxury lifestyle, travel, hospitality, hotel and spa sector, and were founded by industry veteran Claire Griffin – Grifco in 2002 and Ophir in 2011. Griffin and her team will retain a stake in the business.

The double acquisition brings MMGY’s total number of employees to more than 400 and overseas offices to six, including three in London and one each in Dubai, Madrid and Taipei.

Grifco will be known as 'Grifco, an MMGY Global company', while Ophir PR will continue to operate as a separate brand.

Griffin will continue to oversee Grifco as MD and Ophir PR as executive director, partnering with MMGY's senior management team 'to grow its European footprint in the luxury travel sector'.

Clayton Reid, CEO of MMGY Global, said: "We are excited to welcome Claire and her team to MMGY Global and further expand our presence in the UK. Their expertise and client base in the luxury market adds a new dimension to our business that we plan to extend across our network."

Griffin said: "We are thrilled to be joining together with MMGY Global to help our business evolve to the next level. Extending MMGY Global’s worldwide footprint, industry experience and strength across all marketing services through Grifco and Ophir PR offers a truly comprehensive solution and even greater benefit to our current and future clients."

MMGY Global has now made five acquisitions since February 2016, and the investment 'further strengthens the company’s aggressive acquisition strategy, which includes global expansion and a commitment to integration across all travel marketing channels'.

Grifco's client list includes hotel groups Anantara, Conrad and Waldorf Astoria, and it was appointed to run consumer, trade and MICE PR and social media for Visit Monaco in January. Other recent wins include Wyndham Hotel Group, Hilton Seychelles and YTL Hotels’ Monkey Island, as well as a Radisson Blu brief, announced last September.

The MMGY deals are the latest in a spate of recent UK travel specialist sales, including Brighter Group's acquisition by US firm Finn Partners at the start of the year.

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