Management and technology consultancy ICF International jumped into traditional marketing services with the acquisition of a series of digital and other agencies in the 2010s, culminating in 2014 with Olson, then one of the top five US independent full-service agencies, for $295m. These various units were merged to create ICF Olson, now offering a full range of services from traditional advertising and CRM to digital, PR and promotions, from 14 offices across the US. Its PR and experiential arm still operates as Olson Engage. John Armstrong is group EVP of ICF and group lead for ICF Olson. Olson was founded in Minneapolis by former Campbell Mithun creative director John Olson in 1992. He reduced his involvement following the sale of the business in 2009 to private equity fund KRG Capital, and sadly died in 2013 at the age of just 56. In the mean time, the agency had acquired a string of other businesses including loyalty agency Denali in 2010. Media and marketing veteran John Partilla was recuited in 2013 to lead Olson but left following its acquisition. ICF reported total revenues in 2017 of $1.2bn, of which 62% came from government clients, mainly in the US. The US Department of Health & Social Services alone accounted for 20% of group revenues. The group doesn't break out revenues by segment; however ICF Olson contributed around $250m, mainly from commercial and non-governmental clients. Subscribers may access account assignments and contact information. The searchable account assignments database is available to full subscribers to Adbrands.net premium services. Click here to access Adbrands account assignments (subscribers only); or see here for information on how to subscribe.
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Capsule checked 25th September 2018
Adbrands Weekly Update 23rd Oct 2014: Another major independent US agency was taken off the shelf with the acquisition of Minneapolis-based Olson by corporate and public affairs consultancy ICF. Olson is led by former Time Warner, Y&R and Dentsu executive John Partilla. It offers a wide range of digital, PR and promotional marketing services for clients including Hyatt, McDonald's, Target, MillerCoors and Sharp Electronics. Price tag was $295m, a little over twice Olson's 2013 revenues of $126m. Olson had been owned since 2009 by private equity firm KRG.
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