Freeman acquires Sparks

i By August 2, 2023 No Comments

Freeman announced yesterday that it has acquired Sparks, a global brand experience agency. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1919 and headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sparks is globally recognized for providing award-winning exhibit and event experiences to a diverse group of Fortune 1000 brands, including Google, Salesforce, Anheuser-Busch InBev, and T-Mobile. Sparks’ proven approach to best-in-class client service, project management, and delivery is designed for and tailored to corporate customers.

Sparks will combine with Freeman’s award-winning agency business, which also caters to major corporate clients, including Amazon, Cisco, and Kohler.

This agency combination will focus on the corporate market and complements the global events company’s industry expertise and operational excellence, positioning it to accelerate its growth by meeting the evolving needs of corporate clients and show organizers.

“Our combination with Sparks creates a unique opportunity to accelerate Freeman’s vision to become a leader in the corporate space,” said Bob Priest-Heck, chief executive officer of Freeman. “Sparks, like Freeman, is built by great people, has a long history of success, and is one of the most respected names in the industry. We couldn’t be more excited to have Sparks’ talented team join Freeman at this exciting time for the industry.”

David Sudjian, chief executive officer of Sparks, said, “I am thrilled about the immense potential Freeman and Sparks have together. Our exceptional teams are eager to collaborate and leverage our strengths to create extraordinary experiences. The alignment of culture and values between Freeman and Sparks truly sets this combination apart, fueling our ability to deliver remarkable moments worldwide. Together, I am confident we will reach new heights, driven by a shared commitment to excellence.”

“As our 96-year history shows, Freeman continues to be an industry leader because of our ability to understand trends and make bold strategic moves to support our customers’ needs today and tomorrow,” said Carrie Freeman Parsons, chair of Freeman. “As a family-owned company, we will continue to enhance our capabilities to better support corporate customers – deepening those relationships while also nurturing our longstanding relationships with show organizers. We look forward to delivering outstanding event experiences with the additional support of our strategic partner KKR.”

Financing for the transaction was provided by KKR primarily through KKR Opportunities Fund II and funds and accounts participating in its Strategic Investments strategy. 

J.P. Morgan is serving as exclusive financial advisor to Freeman, and King & Spalding LLP is serving as legal counsel to Freeman. Cozen O’Connor is serving as legal counsel to Sparks.  Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP acted as legal counsel to KKR.