Olson purchased by D.C. tech consulting firm

Advertising agency Olson has been sold to a Washington D.C.-based IT consulting firm.

The $295 million, all-cash deal folds Minneapolis-based company—one of the nation’s largest independent ad agencies—into ICF International, a business that provides technology consulting for an international roster including government, energy, transportation and nonprofit clients.

The Star Tribune reports the announcement surprised Olson staff. However, no job cuts or management changes are expected as part of the deal. Olson will continue to function as a standalone organization.

The move is not the traditional route for creative agencies, which are typically snapped up by one of the “big four” marketing holding companies: Interpublic, Omnicom, WPP and Publicis. But as Ad Age notes, there is a growing trend of ad companies being sold to smaller, different organizations.

Executives at Olson said they preferred this emerging model as it creates “complementary and additive” elements for both companies: Olson has a pool of consumer insight data, while ICF has an existing client base to sell to, as well as an international reach.

Twin Cities Business“Both ICF and Olson have been striving to build a completely new breed of end-to-end service organization designed to deliver powerful client solutions in the digital age,” Olson CEO John Partilla said in a statement.

Pending approval from federal regulators, the deal is expected to close in mid-November.

Olson saw 2013 revenues hit $126 million and has added a roster of big-name clients, including Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, P.F. Chang’s and Wet n Wild Beauty.

This article is reprinted in partnership with Twin Cities Business.

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