Minneapolis-based agency Padilla, one of the largest independently-owned PR and communications firms in the U.S., has been acquired by Montreal-based holding company Avenir Global.

Terms of the acquisition were not publicly disclosed.

Lynn Casey & Matt KurcharskiPadilla’s senior leadership team: chair Lynn Casey (L) and president Matt Kucharski.

Photo credit: Monica Janelli

Avenir, a holding and management company of public relations and communication firms, was launched last year after Canada’s leading PR agency, National Public Relations, redefined its corporate platform. In addition to its National Public Relations operation (which includes investor relations and financial services practice National Equicom), the network also includes international healthcare specialists AXON Communications, U.K.-based consultancy Madano and Boston’s Shift Communications.

Avenir is led by president/CEO Jean-Pierre Vasseur and chairman Andrew Molson. It is owned by RES PUBLICA Consulting Group.

With the addition of Padilla, Avenir now becomes one of the 25 largest PR outfits worldwide, with 760 employees in 21 offices across Canada, Europe and the U.S.

Padilla will continue to operate under the same name in light of the acquisition, along with food and nutrition specialists FoodMinds, brand consultancy Joe Smith and research authorities SMS Research Advisors.

The agency will undergo a leadership transition, with Padilla CEO Lynn Casey assuming the role of agency chair. Matt Kucharski will now lead the agency as president. Both will report to Vasseur.

“Among the many reasons we were interested in joining Avenir Global was its philosophy of allowing its agencies to operate with a fair degree of independence,” Casey told O’Dwyer’s. “For Padilla clients and employees, that will mean business as usual plus access to even more talent, more capabilities, and more geographies. We’re looking forward to beginning this next chapter as part of something bigger.”

Rick Gould, managing partner of Gould+Partners, introduced the agencies and facilitated the transaction.

Padilla was founded in 1961 as Padilla Speer Beardsley. The agency rebranded last year from its then-moniker, PadillaCRT, by which it had been known after PSB acquired Richmond, VA-based CRT/tanaka in 2013, which itself had been the result of a merger after Carter Ryley Thomas took over New York-based consumer PR specialist Patrice Tanaka & Co. in 2005.

Padilla in 2016 acquired Chicago-based food and nutrition communications and consulting shop FoodMinds, establishing it as one of the largest independent food and beverage agencies in the country. Last year, it acquired Richmond, VA-based digital studio and strategy firm INM United.

Padilla clients include 3M, Barnes & Noble College, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Cargill Animal Nutrition, Hass Avocado Board, Mayo Clinic, Prosciutto di Parma, Rockwell Automation, Sanofi Pasteur, U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, and the Virginia Lottery.

The agency last year accounted for more than $40 million in net fees, according to O’Dwyer’s rankings of PR firms.