RBA Consulting Buys Twin Cities Tech Firm Ratchet

Financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close on September 1, were not disclosed-but RBA said that the combined company is expected to generate $35 million in revenue this year.

Wayzata-based RBA Consulting was recognized last year by Inc. magazine as one of the 500 fastest-growing companies in the United States.

And it appears the company is continuing its fast-paced growth.

RBA said Monday that it has inked a deal to acquire Ratchet, Inc., a Minneapolis-based technology firm that specializes in digital marketing solutions. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to RBA, Ratchet has 42 employees and serves clients throughout the Midwest, including local Fortune 500 companies.

RBA, meanwhile, has 183 employees in Wayzata, Dallas, and Denver-with 110 workers based in Minnesota. Its 2010 revenue totaled $19.4 million.

RBA said that it expects the transaction to close on September 1, at which point Ratchet will become a wholly owned subsidiary of RBA. The combined 225-employee company will expand offerings in the digital marketing area and offer services in technology strategy, application development and measurement, collaboration, cloud computing, data management, and business intelligence solutions, RBA said.

The combined entity is expected to generate $35 million in revenue for the fiscal year that ends in December.

“We have been monitoring the direction of our industry and determining the best strategy and path to define new growth opportunities for our company,” Mike Reinhart, RBA president and chief operating officer, said in a statement. “With the consumerization of IT and the need to bring a broader portfolio of services to customers, we decided to explore expansion into the digital marketing and mobile technology service areas.”

RBA and Ratchet are no strangers to one another-their leaders have maintained a relationship for many years, the companies said. Ratchet Founder and President Martin Davis, for example, previously worked for RBA's predecessor, Born Information Services.

“We are excited to join forces with RBA,” Davis said in a statement. “Separately we are great companies, but joining RBA's deep IT relationships and Ratchet's strong marketing relationships will result in a unique combination which enables us to expand our services while strengthening our client relationships.”

RBA said that the combined company's long-term branding strategy is not yet determined. The companies will maintain their current brands for the time being. Davis will serve as general manager of digital marketing and will report directly to Reinhart, and Ratchet employees will remain in their Minneapolis office and continue to report to Davis.

Ratchet is Minnesota's 13th-largest Web development and design firm based on its Web-related revenue, which totaled $6 million in 2009. For 2010, the company had about $5 million in revenue, according to RBA.

Learn more about the history of RBA and its co-founder, Rick Born, in this Star Tribune article.