Blue Horse Partners Are Back in the Saddle

CHICAGO The partners of Blue Horse Advertising have reacquired the $30 million shop from parent ESW for undisclosed terms.

As part of the transaction, Bob Welke, managing partner and chief creative officer of ESW, will join Blue Horse as CEO.

“We have learned that independent organic growth will do more for our respective futures,” said Tom Thiede, president of Blue Horse, in a statement. “Bob’s extensive experience will bring added strength to Blue Horse clients, especially in the area of branding.”

In addition to Welke and Thiede, the ownership team of Blue Horse now includes Stephen Johnstone, the shop’s director of public relations, and William Sheahan, director of client services.

ESW’s ownership of Blue Horse dates back to 2002, when predecessor agency Ebel Dunnel Merrick in Chicago acquired a 62 percent stake in the Milwaukee shop. The shop changed its name to ESW when the Chicago office of Louisville, Ky.-based Creative Alliance and EDM combined, transferring the ownership to the new entity.

ESW will continue to handle local KFC and Taco Bell accounts as well as the Options Industry Council, Payday Loan Stores and Dairyland Greyhound Park. Blue Horse’s clients include American Family Insurance, Wal-Mart, U.S. Cellular and Froedtert Hospital.