Blattner Brunner Acquires D.C. Design Shop

ATLANTA Following a trend of late that has seen several traditional agencies bolster their design offerings, Blattner Brunner said it has acquired Carter Cosgrove + Co., a design company in Washington, D.C.

The independent Pittsburgh shop acquired all ownership of the 30-year-old studio.

The acquisition will add between $2 million and $3 million to Blattner Brunner’s revenue this year, according to Michael Brunner, the shop’s CEO. The total price and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

At least a dozen of the 18 employees at Carter Cosgrove will remain with the company and move into Blattner Brunner’s D.C. offices, raising the number of staff at the shop to 27. Blattner Brunner entered the D.C. market three years ago via the acquisition of Multimedia Holdings.

Zane Carter, one of the founders of the shop, will remain as creative director. “This allows Zane to get back to what he likes best,” Brunner said. Carter could not be reached for comment.

Carter’s partner, Vicki Williamson, will leave the company. Williamson, chief financial officer and vice president of administration, has been with the firm for 20 years. Williamson said she would remain long enough to close the company.

Brunner said the additional staff would bolster the design capabilities of his shop.

“Carter Cosgrove + Co. sets the standard for great design and digital,” Brunner said. “That infusion of talent, coupled with our capabilities in the D.C. office, will make for a formidable team.”

Carter Cosgrove’s clients include GE Global Exchange and Services, Watson Wyatt Worldwide and Deltek. Brunner said he expects to retain those clients.

Blattner Brunner expanded into Atlanta last year with the acquisition of Sawyer Riley Compton.

Design has become increasingly important to agencies and clients alike.

MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami last September bought a 20 percent stake in San Francisco’s fuseproject [Adweek Online, Sept, 19]. On a small scale, Burlington, Vt.-based independent Kelliher Samets Volk last July acquired New York’s Platinum Design.

RadioShack a year ago awarded its $250 million account to Havas’ Arnold in Boston, in large part because the agency proposed not just ads, but a 360-degree brand reconstruction, from the logo to the retail environment.