Ndp to acquire Free Agents

fell wayland

Ndp’s Daniel Fell and FAM’s Ken Wayland. (ndp)

Two local ad agencies are looking to join forces in a deal that will create a combined company rivaled in size locally only by the Martin Agency.

Ndp, formerly Neathawk, Dubuque and Packett, is acquiring Free Agents Marketing for an undisclosed sum, the companies announced Tuesday.  

Expected to close later this year, the deal will create a firm with $30 million in revenue and nearly 70 employees at offices in Richmond, Hampton Roads, Roanoke and Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Daniel Fell, president and CEO of ndp, said the acquisition allows the company to diversify by adding FAM’s clients and position it for growth in the Mid-Atlantic.

“Combined we’re a little over $30 million in billing,” said Fell, who will remain CEO of the combined firms. “That makes us a good-sized regional agency. We think there’s an opportunity in this market to service the needs of bigger companies and brands that are in the region.”

FAM principal Ken Wayland, who owns the firm with his wife Marilyn, said the combination with ndp is an idea that’s been simmering for some time.

“Danny and I have been in dialogue for a while,” Wayland said. “It’s always been our goal to grow.”

Ndp is moving its HQ to 2912 W. Leigh St. (Jonathan Spiers)

Wayland will join ndp as an executive vice president and is not expected to take an ownership stake in the combined firm. He and his wife founded FAM in 2001.

FAM brings with it a book of business of clients in financial services, hospitality, retail, healthcare and real estate. Its larger local clients include CapCenter, Mercedes-Benz of Richmond and Short Pump Town Center. 

It also brings over 18 employees and an office in Norfolk that opened last year and will remain under ndp.

Ndp and its 58 employees have a local client list that includes VCU Health, the Jefferson Hotel, Bliley’s Funeral Home and Maymont.

Wayland said part of deal’s draw is that there will be no overlap in clients.

Upon closing the deal later this year, the firms will set up shop in Scott’s Addition, where ndp is building its new headquarters in a redeveloped building at 2912 W. Leigh St. Its current office downtown at 1 E. Cary St. is on the market.

FAM will vacate its home in Innsbrook at 4800 Cox Road. The office will be taken over by Veracity Consulting Group, which has an office nearby on Westerre Parkway.

Ndp has a history of dealmaking, with acquisitions over the years that led to a presence in Roanoke and Chattanooga. That includes a combination with the Packett Group, a former Roanoke firm that added the Packett to ndp’s previous incarnation.

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