Olson Acquires MyThum, Its First Buy Outside of U.S.

Canadian Shop Third Acquisition for Minneapolis-Based Agency Since June

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Continuing its string of acquisitions, Minneapolis-based Olson has bought MyThum, a Toronto-based mobile-marketing agency. It marks Olson's first footprint outside the U.S. and its third acquisition since June.

With the addition of MyThum, now called Olson Mobile, the agency has a combined estimated 2010 revenue of $71 million and counts about 400 people in its employ with offices also in Chicago, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York and San Francisco. Mobile will be an estimated 10%-15% of the agency's overall revenue. MyThum cofounder Michael Carter will serve as the mobile unit's new president in the Toronto office.

The acquisition is the latest move in Olson's vision to create what it calls the "agency of the future" -- an agency that provides multiple marketing disciplines as well as vertical expertise in a non-holding company model.

"Mobile devices are no longer the third screen, they have become the first. And they're the only screen we carry with us everywhere," Kevin DiLorenzo, Olson's president-CEO, said in a statement. "When you look at all of Olson's capabilities today, mobile is a critical component of each, and that will only be more so in the future."

"MyThum was ready to accelerate its growth, and this opportunity came at a great time," Mr. Carter said. "We are delighted to be part of this outstanding agency and look forward to being the architects of groundbreaking digital programs for clients-present and future."

MyThum also operates a Canadian business that connects text-messaging applications to Canadian wireless operator networks for various third-party clients. That business will retain the MyThum name, as it was not part of the acquisition.

Olson's clients include Target , Capital One and Bauer Hockey. MyThum's clients include MolsonCoors, Live Nation, Ontario Lottery Group, Ford, Atlantic Lottery Corp., Sony and Sears Canada.

The MyThum acquisition comes on the heels of Olson's December 2010 acquisition of public-relations firm Dig Communications, which will be known as Olson PR. 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.

Mr. DiLorenzo said that although Olson has been on a bit of an acquisition spree, it doesn't have immediate plans to continue doing so. "Though we've been quick and opportunistic on the acquisition front, it's been a very thoughtful and deliberate process," he said. "We're planning to hit the pause button on acquisitions for the next six to eight months, to focus on the integration and optimization of our next-generation agency for the clients we serve."

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