Levick acquires Purple Nation in second deal of 2014

WASHINGTON: Levick has acquired strategy and public affairs firm Purple Nation Solutions, which was founded by one-time Clinton White House special counsel Lanny Davis and former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele.

WASHINGTON: Levick has acquired strategy and public affairs firm Purple Nation Solutions, which was founded by one-time Clinton White House special counsel Lanny Davis and former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele.

The combination was effective on Monday. Levick president Mark Irion said the process took about six months, but once the two firms started talking, it was obvious they "belonged together."

"What we succeeded in doing was adding really excellent lobbying and communications," he said. "[Davis] has operated at the highest levels at the intersection of law, media, and politics, counseling presidents and key leaders in Congress when they have had communications issues."

Davis will serve full-time as EVP at Levick, working across the firm's practice areas, including crisis and litigation communications, as well as the advocacy and public affairs practice. He will continue to provide legal advice to clients through his law firm, Lanny J. Davis and Associates, Levick said in a statement.

Davis has worked with clients including Penn State University, Macy's, Whole Foods, Royal Caribbean, and Starbucks. On the political side, he has advised US Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS). Davis was reportedly hired by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder last year amid the ongoing controversy over the team's name.

Davis was special counsel to President Bill Clinton from 1996 to 1998 and also served on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board under President George W. Bush. He also worked at Patton Boggs; Orrick, Herington & Sutcliffe, McDermott Will & Emery, and Davis-Block, among other roles.

Steele will serve as a senior strategist on state and local government issues while continuing in his role as an analyst for MSNBC and a regular guest on its programs.

He was chairman of the RNC from 2009 to 2011. Steele also served as lieutenant governor of Maryland from 2003 to 2007.

All four Purple Nation Solutions staffers will also join Levick. Among them, Purple Nation co-founder Eleanor McManus was named SVP. Previously, she was a senior producer of CNN's Larry King Live for 11 years.

"I also think [the acquisition is] important because we are DC-headquartered," Irion added. "As a company, you obviously want to be really effective and an essential company in your own hometown."

The acquisition is the second of the year for Levick. In January, the firm bought Dow Lohnes Government Strategies, signaling its move into the lobbying space. It brought on SVP Rick Kessler, former chief of staff to Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), the former chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as part of that deal.

Former Levick EVP Michael Robinson joined Chlopak Leonard Schechter & Associates last September. 

Representatives from Levick and Purple Nation could not be immediately reached for comment.

This story was updated on March 3 at 3 pm EST with quotes from Irion.

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