Dutko Group eyes growth after sale to investment firm

WASHINGTON: Public affairs shop The Dutko Group has taken an unusual path to acquisition, bypassing involvement with the major holding companies and entering into an equity agreement with an investment firm.

WASHINGTON: Public affairs shop The Dutko Group has taken an unusual path to acquisition, bypassing involvement with the major holding companies and entering into an equity agreement with an investment firm.

Chicago-based Lake Capitol (LC) will acquire Dutko over a five-year period for $50-75 million, after which Dutko partners will retain a 10% stake in the company. Principals said the money will go toward expansion of the integrated government-relations shop.

"This was an alternative path for us," said Mark Irion, Dutko president and managing director. "We see this as unique from other options. We did receive other offers, but this allows us to continue to build up the Dutko Group companies rather than just become one of many entities under a very large holding company. So for us this is a new beginning rather than an ending."

The 22-year-old agency is known primarily for its lobbying services, but has been adding public relations, coalition-building, and grassroots services as well. Dutko's net income in 2002 was $14.5 million. Irion estimated that number would rise to $17.5 million in 2003.

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