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Noelle Omer

A Chattanooga branding and advertising company formed in the city's small business incubator was bought by the largest private, integrated marketing communications firm in the Carolinas.

KMT Creative Group, founded in Chattanooga in 2001, was purchased by Myrtle Beach, S.C.-based The Brandon Agency, the companies announced Tuesday. The acquisition price wasn't disclosed.

Noelle Omer of KMT said the business that employs 11 people will remain on Riverside Avenue in North Chattanooga with the name changing to The Brandon Agency. She said KMT founders John and Missy Thompson will remain with the company and work out of Chattanooga.

"Now we have a much bigger team with more diverse skill sets and abilities," Omer said, adding that the union of the companies will bring more for its clients.

Scott Brandon, The Brandon Agency's chief executive, said the move is a chance to add "great clients to our roster and incredible creative firepower to our team."

He said in a statement the companies shared a common client, so there has been the opportunity to work with KMT for several years.

"The addition of KMT's creative expertise was a very important part of our motivation to move this deal forward, along with their proximity to Atlanta, Nashville, Knoxville and Birmingham, which significantly increases our reach regionally," Brandon said.

That agency employs more than 100 people worldwide with total billings over $50 million in 2014, the company said.

John Thompson said the deal is "a new chapter in our journey."

"We're looking forward to the combination of our two companies to offer our clients a broader base of services," he said.

Omer said the hope is to grow the Chattanooga office's clients and number of employees.

"Now we can do a whole lot more interactive, social media and PR," she said.

The Brandon Agency has been the driving force behind many such brands as Southern Tide, CresCom Bank, Santee Cooper, HTC and Williams Knife Co.

The agency has offices in Charleston, S.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; Breckenridge, Colo.; Cleveland, Ohio; Sofia, Bulgaria, and now Chattanooga.

KMT has experience in health care, waste management, retail shopping centers, retail development, casual dining, destination marketing, outdoor apparel and equipment, and industrial markets.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.

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