COLUMBUS, OHIO: Eastport Holdings is merging its agencies Fahlgren Mortine and SBC Advertising to create a new agency named Fahlgren Mortine SBC.
As part of the deal, Neil Mortine, president and CEO of Fahlgren Mortine since 2009, will become president and CEO of the new agency, according to a statement.
"Adding SBC’s strengths in marketing to Fahlgren Mortine’s successful integrated marketing and communications agency model makes us stronger together," Mortine told PRWeek via email. "In the highly competitive agency landscape, this is an advantage that provides more opportunities for our employees and our clients. Together, we are an agency with more than 200 employees and offices in eight states as well as international partnerships around the world."
The move comes a few months after Eastport Holdings acquired Fahlgren Mortine — then a family owned business — dissolved the family board that ran it, and gave Mortine a four-year deal to run the agency.
At the time, Mortine told PRWeek he and the board had fought to stay independent for years, but the sale was a way to ensure necessary growth. In addition, he said Eastport had a reputation for allowing its agencies to operate independently.
Fahlgren Mortine was the 65th largest firm globally in terms of revenue for 2017, according to the PRWeek Agency Business Report 2018. The firm’s revenue grew 10% to $26.9 million compared to $24.4 million in 2016.
Eastport Holdings acquired SBC Advertising in 2012 and operates 16 media, marketing, and advertising firms in the U.S., according to a statement. In 2014, Fahlgren Mortine bought travel and lifestyle boutique firm Turner PR.
Editor's note: This story was updated with comment from Mortine on April 30.