Viad Corp. (NYSE: VVI) (www.viad.com) completed the acquisition of The Becker Group, Ltd. (www.beckergroup.com), a portfolio company of Sterling Capital Partners (www.sterlingpartners.us). Headquartered in Baltimore, Becker Group is an experiential marketing company specializing in creating immersive, entertaining attractions and brand-based experiences for clients and venues, including retail centers, movie studios, museums, leading consumer brands and casinos. With more than 50 years of experience, Becker Group is the leading provider of large-scale events and experiences for retail real estate developers in North America.
JEGI CLARITY (www.jegiclarity.com), the New York-based investment banking firm that specializes in media and information, represented Becker Group and Sterling Company in this transaction and acted as their exclusive financial advisor.
Becker Group has successfully expanded its experiential marketing solutions beyond the retail sector to include year-round branded attractions, sponsored events, mobile marketing tours and other place-based marketing solutions for a broad client base. Recent projects include touring exhibits to promote the animated films “Ratatouille” and “Cars” and a mall-based holiday program promoting the films “Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and “Happy Feet”.
Becker’s representative clients and venue/content partners include leading mall developers such as Taubman Centers and Westfield Group; corporate sponsors and brand advertisers, such as Ford Motor Company and Mars, Inc.; U.S. and international museums, including the Chicago Children’s Museum; casinos and lifestyle centers, such as Ceasar’s Palace and Mohegan Sun; and major entertainment companies, such as Walt Disney Company, Walden Media, Warner Bros., Pixar, Discovery Communications, and others.
Paul Dykstra, Viad’s President & CEO, said, “Becker Group is a great addition to Viad’s portfolio of leading businesses. The company is an established brand with deep, long-standing customer relationships, cutting edge creative talent, and an exceptional management team and employees. And, like Viad, Becker Group is a values-based organization that operates with honesty and integrity.”
Dykstra added, “This acquisition extends Viad’s experiential marketing services beyond the tradeshow environment and provides excellent opportunities to leverage the capabilities and client relationships of Becker Group, GES and Exhibitgroup/Giltspur to accelerate growth in all three of these businesses. We expect that Becker Group will have a very successful future and play a key role in Viad’s continued growth.”
With the acquisition by Viad, Becker Group will have access to the global resources and talent of the GES Worldwide Network and Exhibitgroup/Giltspur, including expert installation and dismantling services and high-quality custom fabrication capabilities across the US and abroad. Additionally, management believes that relationships with venues and corporate clients across Becker Group, GES and Exhibitgroup/Giltspur will provide a means to generate new business opportunities for each of these businesses.
Glenn Tilley, President & CEO, Becker Group, said, “We are very excited to join forces with Viad. Becker Group is a proven performer and has established a solid foundation for continued growth with a strong pipeline of exciting new business opportunities. By leveraging our strengths with those of our new sister companies, we are confident that we can accelerate our growth with additional service capabilities and continue delivering award-winning experiential marketing services that entertain, educate and generate measurable results for our clients.”