Partners + Napier acquires Rochester agency Roberts Communications

Sharon Napier, Courtney Cotrupe and Bill Murtha

Partners + Napier has acquired Rochester-based Roberts Communications. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Partners + Napier founder and chief executive Sharon Napier will continue in her role, while managing director Courtney Cotrupe will step up to president. Bill Murtha, chief executive of Roberts Communications, will serve as transition consultant for Partners + Napier before retiring next year to “pursue personal interests including writing, consulting and teaching.” President of Roberts Communications Katrina Busch is joining Partners + Napier as senior vice president-group account director. She will report to Cotrupe.

The acquisition expands Partners + Napier’s existing relationships with Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Univera Healthcare and Xerox while adding two new clients to its roster: ITT and Jewish Senior Life. As part of the acquisition, Roberts Communications is leaving behind a handful of “small, mostly project clients.”

About half of the employees at Roberts Communications will not be transitioning to combined entity, including its executive vice president-chief creative officer Bruce Kielar and executive vice president-chief operating officer Stu Norris. The roughly 20 Roberts Communications staffers that are being offered employment at the agency were “selected based on capabilities they bring, the talent that they bring, and the relationships with existing clients that are coming over.”

Roberts Communications employees who join will ultimately move into Partners + Napier’s headquarters in Rochester. Partners + Napier, which is part of independent global network Project Worldwide, also has service offices in New York City and San Francisco.

Cotrupe told The Drum that bringing Roberts Communications into the fold will give the agency enhanced capabilities, particularly in the digital experience and public relations realms.

“Bringing over these additional capabilities and enhancing what we have really strengthens our expertise in key verticals with existing clients as well as potential new business opportunities,” she said.

Napier said that acquisition will strengthen the agency’s capabilities in health and wellness as well as food and beverage, two areas it specializes in. The agency’s biggest client is Constellation Brands, which owns brands including Svedka, Arbor Mist and Corona.

“Like every business, you have to keep reinventing yourself, and we put a lot of hard work into thinking about what offerings we would have as an integrated agency and not just [being] big for big’s sake, but to really deepen our capabilities in core areas,” she said. “When we started Partners + Napier, we were always looking to build a nationally recognized agency right here in Rochester, New York, which means you have to really stay focused on the right growth. So we always look for the right fit and value.”

According to Napier, the agency has experienced 10% growth this year across its portfolio of clients. Recent work to come out of the agency includes an iMessage stickers campaign for Delta Vacations and a video for cottage cheese brand Friendship Dairies.

Minda Smiley

Minda Smiley is a reporter at The Drum covering creativity and advertising. Based in Philadelphia, she primarily covers independent agencies and B2B marketing. She also oversees The Drum’s “Independent Influence,” a weekly series that spotlights the work, perspectives and inspirations behind independent agencies. During her time at The Drum, she has covered industry events including SXSW, ANA Masters of Marketing, 4A’s Transformation and C2 Montréal. She is a graduate of the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism.

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