French/West/Vaughan (FWV), one of the nation’s largest independently-owned public relations, advertising and digital marketing agencies, announced the acquisition of Fetching Communications, a leading pet and veterinary PR and marketing firm based in Tampa, Florida. Widely recognized as a marketing innovator in the pet-related consumer products and pet care industries, Fetching will complement FWV’s expertise in the equine and consumer lifestyle categories and will be rebranded as FWV Fetching, operating as a wholly-owned division of FWV.
Combined, the two firms employ over 100 professionals with fee billings approaching $25 million, placing FWV well within the 20 largest independently-owned PR firms in the country. FWV Fetching will be looking to help companies not endemic to the pet product category gain entry into the pet, pet-owner and pet-lifestyle marketplace, according to a company statement.
Fetching founder Kristen Levine will lead the new Pet & Veterinary Practice as Senior Vice President. Fetching CEO Liz Lindley, an attorney who previously worked in Edelman’s litigation PR practice in New York City and later in PR for a division of the Washington Post, will serve as Vice President. Fetching employees in New York, Tampa and Columbus, Ohio will be aligned with existing FWV offices to support the rebranded practice in their current roles. The acquisition also includes the Fetching subsidiary PetPR.com, a pet industry-dedicated news release distribution service.
“When we looked at the client cultures of the two agencies, as well as the geographic footprint of our existing offices and the broader capabilities we could extend to Fetching’s clients, it became clear that we could build something special together,” said Rick French, FWV chairman and CEO. “Our history of working with pet-related products, equine organizations and equestrian lifestyle brands, together with our consumer marketing expertise, takes our combined capabilities to a level that is unmatched in the pet and veterinary sectors.”
Over the past two decades, FWV has supported the likes of the U.S. Polo Association, the New York Horse Show, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Parelli Natural Horsemanship, Professional Bull Riders and Dognition.
Levine established Fetching Communications in 2003 as the nation’s first marketing and PR firm focused exclusively on the pet and veterinary industries. The company built a national reputation as a trusted marketing and communications resource for pet-positive companies, veterinary practices and related organizations, including the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, PetSafe Brand, Calmz Anxiety Relief System for dogs and John Paul Pet, created by John Paul Mitchell Systems.
Today, Levine is a nationally-known speaker, media personality, author and blogger, reaching passionate pet lovers across the country through her website, Kristen Levine Pet Living.
“We are ecstatic about integrating our pet and veterinary practice into such a prestigious and respected agency as FWV,” Levine said. “Their award-winning work with corporate and consumer clients, together with our unique expertise, will create a powerful agency brand capable of serving a wide range of industries.”
Prosper Group, led by M&A practice leader David Bosses, served as transaction advisor to Fetching in its negotiations with FWV. Prosper Group is a consulting firm advising owners of marketing communications agencies looking for support in growing revenue, improving profitability and M&A transactions.
Headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, with offices in New York City, Los Angeles and Tampa, FWV will celebrate its 20th year in 2017. The agency earned four separate public relations industry Agency of the Year honors in 2016 and was ranked in the Top 10 of the Holmes Report Global Creative Index.