Olson Acquires PR Shop Dig Communications

More Acquisitions to Come for Minneapolis Agency; Mobile Is Next

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Olson is acquiring Chicago-based public relations shop Dig Communications in a move that gives Olson its first sizable footprint outside of its home market of Minneapolis.

With the addition of Dig, Olson will swell to more than 360 employees, and nearly 20% of the agency's overall revenue will now be driven by PR. Dig's founder, Peter Marino, becomes president of the newly merged agency's PR practice, which will be rebranded Olson PR. Dig employees will remain in their respective office locations in Chicago, Milwaukee, New York and San Francisco.

Mr. Marino said Dig witnessed a spike in inbound interest from potential buyers in the past nine months. It was approached by several groups that had been on the sidelines for the past two years but were able to gain access to capital coming out of the recession, he speculated. For him, the "integrated potential" of teaming up with Olson was alluring, especially as clients were asking for Dig's PR services to be enhanced by other disciplines.

"Dig thinks a lot like we think," said Olson President-CEO Kevin DiLorenzo, who approached Dig about the deal this summer. "The companies, we feel, share DNA and values."

The two shops have no client conflicts or client synergies, the executives said. Olson's roster includes General Mills, Fifth Third Bank, Northwestern Mutual and Target , while Dig's client list includes MillerCoors, Mars' Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., Harley Davidson, American Express and PepsiCo's Quaker.

For Olson, it's the second acquisition this year. In June it acquired loyalty-marketing agency Denali in a deal that transformed the shop into one of the Twin Cities' largest full-service agencies and one of the country's top 10 largest independents. And it's still looking to do more deals.

"We've decided at this point in time our ambition is to continue to build the agency of the future as we see it and that isn't through a holding-company model," said Mr. DiLorenzo. "Our next move will be similar. Mobile is an area where we have great interest and our clients have great interest so that would be a smart next piece to put into the puzzle."

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