EPB snatches up hi-tech shop KSK

BETHESDA, MD: Earle Palmer Brown has upped its hi-tech presence by acquiring KSK Communications, a Northern Virginia-based integrated shop.

BETHESDA, MD: Earle Palmer Brown has upped its hi-tech presence by acquiring KSK Communications, a Northern Virginia-based integrated shop.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. KSK will remain an independent subsidiary of EPB and will keep its name, location, and employees, as well as its control over day-to-day operations. 'No functions are moving in either direction,' said KSK founder Karen Kennedy.

Founded 16 years ago, KSK reports dollars 25.9 million in capitalized billings and has 35 employees. KSK's PR and advertising clients include Lucent Technologies Government Solutions, Integral Systems, SpaceVest and Swales Aerospace.

Kennedy said over the past few years she had 'been approached by many agencies and had several serious offers.' EPB was one of the would-be suitors, and the two firms had talked informally several years ago. This time, however, 'the entire package was more attractive for the agency management, staff and clients,' she said.

She will retain the presidency of KSK under a three-year employment contract, adding the title of EPB partner.

When asked why she sold her agency during a boom market for hi-tech PR?particularly in the Northern Virginia region?Kennedy responded, 'Sometimes it's intelligent to have an exit strategy before you exit.'

EPB had been trying to add hi-tech to its slate of offerings for some time, and rumors regularly surfaced about its approaches to tech specialists. Though EPB's Connecticut office has handled some tech business, the agency was rarely considered a serious contender for the biggest accounts.

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