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Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) is opening an office in Israel, establishing UMPG as the only major label publishing company currently operating in the Middle Eastern country. The office, in Tel Aviv, opens today (July 8).

To helm the newly minted UMPG Israel operation, the company has tapped 20-year music business veteran Itamar Shafrir as the General Manager of Publishing and Production Music. Prior to his new role, Shafrir held jobs in the music industry in New York, Tel Aviv, and London, and he worked for 12 years in film and television at UMG sister company Havas London.

The Tel Aviv office will provide “unique opportunities throughout the region” to UMPG’s existing global roster and “add to our ever-growing catalog by discovering and developing local talent,” Shafrir says in a press release.

Shafrir will report both to Simon Baker, General Manager of UMPG Europe, and to Michael Sammis, President of Universal Production Music worldwide.

The launch of UMPG Israel comes a year after parent company Universal Music Group opened an office in Tel Aviv, which was part of a broader expansion effort by UMG into the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

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