Barkley acquires Blacktop Creative

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Barkley has acquired Blacktop Creative, a branding firm. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

All of Blacktop's 20 employees will move to Barkley's headquarters this month. Both companies are based in Kansas City, MO.

Blacktop will be rebranded as Barkley Blacktop and will function as one of three business units within Barkley. Barkley had 275 employees before the acquisition, which was signed December 30. Jeff King, CEO of Barkley, said that Blacktop differs from his agency in that it does a lot of project work.

“Barkley isn't as well set up for that type of work in terms of processes,” he explained. “We're focusing on the ability to not only support existing clients, but also grow our project work.”

No layoffs will occur as a result of the acquisition, said King.

Craig Neuman, VP and director of design at Barkley, and Shawn Polowniak, VP and director of client services at Blacktop, will lead the agency. Its capabilities will include brand strategy and identity, interactive and retail design.

Polowniak addded that he couldn't discuss financial terms, but said Blacktop's three founders intend to stay at Barkley for a minimum of five years. He added that negotiations began seven months ago.

King said principals from the two companies met at an event last year and hit it off. “We'd not worked together up until that point, but we'd certainly admired them as a competitor,” he said. “Barkley is aggressively looking for the right types of companies to help grow the company through acquisition, and Blacktop was a great fit in terms of people, management style and quality of work.”

Blacktop's clients include Ply Gem, Kauffman Foundation and Spin magazine. Barkley's include 24 Hour Fitness, Sonic drive-in restaurants and Dawn Foods. The companies have a mutual client in Westlake Ace Hardware, which tapped Barkley for CRM duties back in October.

Barkley's other business units include Barkley Public Relations in Kansas City and BarkleyREI, an interactive agency acquired in March 2008 and based in Pittsburgh.

Earlier this month, Lee Jeans awarded its e-commerce business to Barkley, which previously managed Lee's PR and cause marketing.


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