Finn Partners enters Nashville with DVL, Seigenthaler acquisitions

Finn Partners will merge the two agencies into a firm called DVL Seigenthaler, which will have about $11 million in annual fees.

Top row (L to R): Richard Funess, Peter Finn, Ronald Roberts; Second row (L to R): Finn Partners’ Alicia Young, Beth Seigenthaler Courtney, and Noah Finn
Top row (L to R): Richard Funess, Peter Finn, Ronald Roberts; Second row (L to R): Finn Partners’ Alicia Young, Beth Seigenthaler Courtney, and Noah Finn

NASHVILLE, TN: Finn Partners has agreed to acquire two Nashville-based firms, DVL Public Relations & Advertising and Seigenthaler Public Relations, as it expands into the southeastern US.

Finn Partners will merge the two agencies into a company called DVL Seigenthaler. The combined operation will have annual fees of about $11 million and 80 staffers, making it the largest agency in Nashville, according to a statement from Finn Partners.

DVL CEO Ronald Roberts will serve as chief executive of the new firm, while Seigenthaler CEO Beth Seigenthaler Courtney will be president. Both will report to Richard Funess, senior managing partner of Finn Partners.

There will be no layoffs as a result of the deal, said founding partner Peter Finn.

"We hope the entire management team for both firms and their employees stay with us for a long time," Finn added.

The acquisition will increase Finn Partners’ global annual fees to approximately $65 million, its offices to 12, and its employees to 450. In PRWeek’s 2014 Agency Business Report, the firm reported global revenue of about $44.2 million, as well as 298 employees and nine wholly owned offices worldwide.

Finn Partners is planning to close the transaction by the end of the month. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Finn said there were no global agencies operating in Nashville, which was a key factor behind the decision to acquire the two firms.

"Nashville is experiencing very strong growth and has been reported as the fastest growing economy among major cities in the US," he said.

Finn Partners: Agency Business Report 2014
Spotlight on the Nashville PR market

With the addition of staffers from the two firms, Finn Partners’ digital and creative group will expand to about 50 people.

All of Seigenthaler’s and DVL’s clients will be part of the new agency, including Jack Daniels, JM Smucker, Airbus DS Communications, Bridgestone Americas, Singer Sewing, Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennesee, and the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority. Finn does not expect any client conflicts to result from the merger.

Seigenthaler Courtney noted her firm’s clients will gain "unparalleled access" to Finn Partners’ talent and national reach. Roberts said the acquisition will give DVL staffers the opportunity to grow and develop.

"This gives our employees a chance to work on things they otherwise may not be able to do, and now our clients are working with a national agency," he said.

This is the latest in a string of acquisitions by Finn Partners since its split from Ruder Finn in late 2011.

Last year, Finn Partners bought specialist agency gabbegroup’s health and education practice areas, as well as UK-based technology PR agency Johnson King.

The firm expanded in public affairs and education after acquiring Widmeyer Communications in 2013. That same year, it scooped up Chicago-based marketing and PR firm Healy & Schulte. Finn Partners also purchased travel shop M. Silver Associates in 2012.

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