Qatari billionaire invests in Irish marketing business

Dublin-based iZest to double workforce on back of Wissam Al-Mana’s €1m investment

Qatari business magnate Wissam Al-Mana with iZest founders Jenny Taaffe and Alan McGovern. Photograph: Jon Bradley Photography

Qatari business magnate Wissam Al-Mana with iZest founders Jenny Taaffe and Alan McGovern. Photograph: Jon Bradley Photography

 

Qatari business magnate and reported billionaire Wissam Al-Mana has taken a 30 per cent stake in Irish strategic and digital marketing company iZest.

Mr Al-Mana has invested €1 million in the Sandyford, Co Dublin-based group founded in 2011 by Jenny Taaffe and Alan McGovern.

The group is looking to double its workforce to 32 on the back of the investment.

Ms Taaffe told The Irish Times that the deal will help to grow the brand further, with the main point of focus being the Middle East.

“This deal marks a new stage in iZest’s growth and international development. Our partnership with Wissam Al Mana brings a wealth of expertise to our board, allowing us to advance further in the Middle East,” she said.

Business from the Al-Mana group of companies accounted for 6 per cent of iZest’s activities up to now but this figure is expected to rise as a result of their involvement with the Qatari businessman.

Some 55 per cent of iZest’s business is conducted outside of Ireland and the group has clients in Portugal, New York, London, Copenhagen and the Middle East.

Growth opportunities

In addition to their growth plans in the Middle East, the marketing company will now scope out opportunities for growth by acquisition in London or the United States.

iZest, which has avoided taking on debt since its foundation, began talks surrounding a deal with Mr Al-Mana last year.

The marketing company had worked on projects for Mr Al-Mana’s Irish interests, including for iConnect, a premium reseller of Apple products, after which Mr Al-Mana approached them offering investment.

The group has already begun on their expansion path, adding a new platform to their portfolio, a premium brand and design agency called Midnight.

Mr Al-Mana is one of three executive directors of the Al-Mana group, all of whom are sons of Saleh Al Hamad Al Mana who founded the company.

The Qatari conglomerate operates 55 companies across eight countries across a range of sectors including retail, food, automotive and media. Some of the brands it operates across its territories include McDonald’s, Hermes, Saks Fifth Avenue, Longines and HMV.

“I have worked with the iZest team over the past four years on several branding, digital and marketing projects. We have forged an excellent working relationship and I look forward to the journey ahead,” Mr Al-Mana said.