Business News

Freeman Acquires Global Brand Experience Agency Sparks

Skift Take

Freeman has extended its already expansive reach by acquiring experiential marketing agency Sparks. The focus of this new partnership will be the corporate market.

Global events company Freeman has acquired Sparks, a live and digital experiential marketing agency with a diverse group of Fortune 1000 clients, including Google, Salesforce, Anheuser-Busch InBev, and T-Mobile. The new partnership, “Sparks, A Freeman Company,” will focus on the corporate market.

Philadelphia-based Sparks has been a company focused on growth and in 2020 acquired Group Delphi’s tradeshow and event business and its 40 employees. This followed Sparks’ acquisition of Big City Moms, a New York-based content and event company for expecting parents. It is now reported to have more than 1,000 employees.

“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, Freeman’s CEO. 

Financing for the transaction was provided by KKR primarily through KKR Opportunities Fund II and funds and accounts participating in its strategic investments strategy, although terms were not released. 

Carrie Freeman Parsons, chair of Freeman, added, “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. 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.”

The merger will lead to Sparks having access to a broader range of resources, locations, and expertise. Its website states, “We will gradually integrate relevant personnel, locations, and clients from Freeman’s agency and custom exhibits business into our operations, creating an exciting new growth platform that holds immense potential for us and our valued customers.”