In a big industry move, the consulting firm at the top of the voter list and campaign technology heap, Aristotle, has acquired competitor Complete Campaigns. Aristotle CEO John Phillips tells Politics magazine it’s a marriage that will allow Aristotle to expand its client base and build relationships with candidates on the state and local level.
“Strategically, this means we can offer high performance software and data to candidates who are just coming into the political process,” says Phillips. “These are future congressional candidates or governors and senators. So the relationship with the company lasts for your entire career.”
He says, as individual companies, the strengths of Aristotle and Complete Campaigns complement one another well. “It’s no longer good enough to just have good data, or to just have good software. You need them both.”
It’s a section of the political consulting industry that has numerous smaller competitors, but few giants at the top. Aristotle’s main competitor for market share is NGP Software, a D.C. based firm.
“We don’t expect this move to affect the Democratic side of this market at all,” says Nathaniel Pearlman, founder and chairman of NGP. “From my perspective neither [Aristotle nor Complete Campaigns] was competing successfully with us. We have a huge percentage of the market share on the Democratic side.”
Complete Campaigns CEO Ben Katz will now oversee the day-to-day operations of Aristotle’s San Diego office, and will serve as the firm’s chief technology officer.
“Aristotle has been at the top end of the market for a long time,” says Katz. “[Complete Campaigns has] worked with a lot of smaller campaigns—city council races, county supervisors. So, together we’re now covering the entire spectrum from dog-catcher to president.”
And the company is hiring. Phillips says he’s on the lookout for some of the top talent that has emerged from this year’s presidential cycle.
The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but Phillips notes that both firms have just come off their strongest financial years to date. And, he “wouldn’t rule out additional transactions going forward.”
As for what it means for Aristotle’s top competitors? Phillips wouldn’t say, but Ben Katz’s take: “I wouldn’t want to be them.”
Shane D’Aprile is web editor at Politics magazine. firstname.lastname@example.org