So Group bought by Freeman, business as usual for N200

US contracting giant Freeman has bought event contractor SO Group. SO
Group went into administration on 28 March before Freeman
stepped in at 3.30pm as the successful bidder for the business and
assets of SO Group in an accelerated sales process following
administration.

The deal will see the business and assets of SO
Group, and its subsidiary 360 Creative Event Services, incorporated into
the Freeman family of brands and the business will operate under the
trade name “SO Group, a Freeman Company”.

Both companies chose to not disclose financial information related to this transaction.

Registration
company N200, which was part of the SO Group, has revealed it has not been affected by US contracting
giant Freeman’s purchase of SO Group’s business and assets.

In a statement from N200, the firm revealed that a clause required SO
Group to relinquish its minority share in N200. The equity stake has
been transferred to the other N200 shareholders; Bart van Bijnen
(pictured), Michiel Bovee, David Cunningham and Ben Hambidge.

N200 merged with SO Group’s registration division in the summer of 2012.

“For
eighty-six years, Freeman has focused its business on responding to the
specific needs of each client,” said Joe Popolo, CEO of Freeman. “Our customers are increasingly looking for strategic partnerships that
provide seamless service beyond North America, and this acquisition
positions us to answer that call. We are extremely excited to bring
these two businesses together.”

Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA) Director Chris Skeith said that SO Group is now no longer a member of the association.

“Following sight of a press release from Freeman stating that ’Freeman emerged as
the successful bidder for the business and assets of SO Group in an
accelerated sales process following administration’, under the
Memorandum and Articles of the association, the SO Group ceases to be a
member of ESSA with immediate effect,” he said. “It will be interesting
to see how the transition concludes and how we can work with Freeman as
part of the UK community.”

Headquartered in Dallas, with 70
offices in North America, Freeman produces more than 4,300 trade events
annually, including 135 of the 250 largest in the US and 11,000 other
events worldwide. It had a revenue of US$1.6bn in 2012.

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Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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