Hill&Knowlton Strategies Canada has acquired the assets of Ottawa-based Ascentum, an agency that specializes in online, social media and in-person communications activities. The operations of Ascentum will be merged into Hill&Knowlton's Ottawa office to form a new public engagement group that will develop "informed participation campaigns." No financial details are available. Ascentum co-founder Joe Peters has become deputy social media and digital communications practice leader at Hill&Knowlton. Co-founder Rob Mariani will lead the new public engagement group. "The public now expects to be involved in the issues that impact them and this has profound implications for business and government," said Mike Coates, president and CEO of Hill&Knowlton Canada. "Adding Ascentum to the H&K family creates new opportunities for growth in the emerging, but important, sector of public engagement. Ascentum's expertise and tools, coupled with our proven track record in stakeholder relations and our digital capabilities and national and international network, is completely unique in the Canadian marketplace."