RALEIGH—North Carolina’s French/West/Vaughan, one of the leading independent agencies in the South East, has acquired Fetching Communications, which serves clients in the pet and veterinary sector and is based in Tampa, Fla.

Fetching will complement FWV’s expertise in the equine and consumer lifestyle categories and will be rebranded as FWV Fetching. The new unit will help a wide range of companies gain access to the pet, pet-owner and pet-lifestyle marketplace.

“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,” says Rick French, FWV Chairman & 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.”

Fetching founder Kristen Levine (pictured) will lead the new pet and veterinary practice as senior vice president, while 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.

Combined, the two firms employ more than 100 professionals with fee billings approaching $25 million. The acquisition is FWV’s first since it bought a 50% interest in Hispanic PR, marketing and branded content agency RGAA PR in September 2015.

Prosper Group, led by M&A practice leader David Bosses, served as transaction advisor to Fetching in its negotiations with FWV.