Minneapolis digital marketing firm Ackmann & Dickenson is the latest name on a growing list of acquisitions by St. Paul-based holding company Clear Night Group.
A & D, a 60-person web and mobile application development agency, will keep its name, leadership team and North Loop location as part of the purchase that is being announced Tuesday. Terms were not disclosed.
"As we have grown over the last couple years, we have been looking at how to continue to expand," said Andrew Dickenson, co-founder and managing partner of A & D. "It's a difficult thing to organically grow in other markets and still maintain the growth of this market. So we were looking for additional network, additional leadership, additional sales channels to help feed that growth."
Clear Night Group (CNG), a division of South Carolina media conglomerate Evening Post Industries, has plans to add at least two more firms to its portfolio this year. CNG President and CEO John Hyduke was mum about which agencies those might be, but over the next three years, CNG will try to round out its service offerings and geographic reach, Hyduke said.
"I couldn't be happier to have A & D as part of Clear Night Group," he said. "It's going to help us see our vision of being a world-class marketing organization for the next generation."
For Michael Ackmann, A & D's other co-founder and managing partner, CNG had the right "cultural fit," and the fact that the firm will continue doing business as it has been was appealing.
"With a bigger organization and with more people involved and with a larger organization behind us, that gives us the tools that we need," Ackmann said.
CNG has been positioning itself to be a player in the marketing industry with several acquisitions over the past few years.
In 2014, CNG bought Minneapolis creative agency Gabriel deGrood Bendt (GdB). Last year, McFarland Communications became part of CNG and in turn became GdB Pitch.
Founded in 2007, A & D has grown its revenue more than 30 percent year-over-year on average. Last year, the company had $7.2 million in revenue. Earlier this year, the company announced the opening of its Phoenix office.
Some of the company's latest projects have been mobile apps for the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital to help patients and their families learn more about medical procedures and the hospital itself. It also continues to improve an app for Twin Cities-based Sentera drone company.
"We were not in the position that we needed something necessarily. We were in the right position to find a good opportunity," Dickenson said about the acquisition.