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Olson Sells to Consulting Group for $295M

Minneapolis agency's leadership will remain in place

The 545-employee shop will continue to operate under the Olson name.

Olson, one of the industry’s largest remaining independent agencies in America, has signed a definitive deal to be acquired by ICF International, a Fairfax, Va., provider of consulting services and technology solutions to government and commercial clients.

ICF International said it will purchase Olson for $295 million in cash from private equity firm KRG Capital Partners and other minority shareholders. The deal is scheduled to close by mid-November, subject to regulatory approval and other closing conditions. In making the announcement, ICF said Olson had revenue of $126 million in 2013, and for the first seven months of this year, the Minneapolis agency’s increased at a “double-digit rate” that is expected to continue for the rest of the year. Over the past two years, Olson has picked up new business from marketers like Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Bissell, Planters, Trulia, Reynolds consumer products and Sharp Electronics.

Within ICF, the 545-person agency will continue to operate as Olson under current management led by CEO John Partilla, who assumed that role in January 2013 after previously serving as COO at Dentsu Network West.

ICF specializes in customer engagement, e-commerce and system-integration, and Olson’s focus is on marketing in traditional advertising, digital and emerging marketing services. While Olson’s client base is skewed toward retail, consumer products, and travel and tourism, ICF works primarily in aviation, healthcare, energy and government. Olson’s business is heavily concentrated in North America; ICF has over 70 worldwide offices.

ICF built its commercial digital operations through recent acquisitions like digital services firm Ironworks; content management and stakeholder engagement specialists CityTech and Mostra, a consulting and technical services provider to governments and commercial clients.

 

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