Grass Roots expands into South America and Dubai

The Grass Roots Group has expanded its worldwide operation into Mexico, Venezuela, Columbia, Brazil and Miami with the acquisition of a controlling interest in BitTime Inc, Latin America’s leading incentive and rewards company. Grass Roots BitTime, as the newly acquired business will be known, also has partner offices in Argentina, Costa Rica and Chile. Grass Roots chairman David Evans said that the acquisition, worth “millions of dollars” and “funded out of our own balance sheet”, will benefit UK corporates who want to run international programmes in more than one country. “We want a global solution with a local function,” he said. “We have a lot to learn from other countries and vice versa.” Grass Roots stressed that the new offices will not act as DMCs for the UK operation. “We have to look at what is best for our clients and we value the work of specialist DMCs,” said managing director Rik Burrage. With 12 offices worldwide, employing around 400 people, no redundancies within the new offices are planned. “We are retaining all staff, including senior management,” said Evans. Evans also confirmed that the new offices are part of a strategy to have a comprehensive global presence within the next 18 months, with the next stage of expansion already underway. The expansion adds to the offices that Grass Roots already has in London, Dublin, Paris, Cologne, Barcelona and Madrid. “Once we finalise the Italy office we will have completely covered the traditional European market, so we’ve started to look east,” he said. He refused to confirm how far east the company is looking, but did not deny that a presence in China was on the cards. “China is a growing market and an option at some point,” he said. In addition, Grass Roots has formed a joint venture with advertising agency MEMAC Ogilvy Holdings, and has opened an operation in Dubai. The office will be run by Mark Spicer, formerly Grass Roots project manager for awards services based in Tring.

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