31 Jul 2015

Staging Connections shock change as family takes over

Main picture: Freeman Chairman Don Freeman, Vice chair Carrie Freeman Parsons, and CEO Joe Popolo. A family company that values its employees.

American events Goliath PSAV were gazumped by giant family owned firm Freeman last week. Suddenly Australia’s largest event services company has just one family owner, something the A$50 million firm has never had.

With this 11th hour change, Staging is suddenly owned by a firm with excellent values. Previously Staging was a disparate collective of managers controlling territory, then a public company plaything that was milked, bilked, and ping-ponged for a decade. The PSAV takeover looked like a chapter not a solution as that firm are vulture fund controlled.


Staging staff have something real and substantive to look forward to now, as Freeman takes control

This is the memo sent by CEO Tony Chamberlain to Staging Connections staff last week:

Several weeks ago we announced Staging Connections Group had entered a Scheme Implementation Agreement, which would lead to PSAV acquiring 100% of the business.


Following the announcement to the market, we received an approach, which has resulted in a superior offer from the world’s largest Events Service Company based in the U.S., Freeman. After much consideration, the board and management have unanimously agreed to accept the Freeman proposal.

We are incredibly fortunate to be in a position where two large events service companies have expressed such interest in our business and its people.

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Freeman has been the world’s leading provider of integrated brand experiences since 1927. A family and employee-owned company headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with more than 70 offices in North America and UK, Freeman provides integrated event services; producing more than 4,300 expositions annually, including 135 of the 250 largest U.S. trade shows, and 11,000 other events worldwide. Customer-driven, Freeman offers a scope of products and services unmatched by any competitor.

One of the things we like most about Freeman is its culture. Freeman is known to be an extraordinary place to work, with a strong culture based on the values of integrity, empathy, innovation, enthusiasm, collaboration and performance excellence. As an independent company, Freeman has the flexibility and stability to invest in its business and its people with a fierce commitment to quality. Freeman places an emphasis on respect for people and providing unparalleled customer service. Freeman has received numerous industry awards for excellence in leadership, creative design, community service, technology, innovation and customer-driven partnerships. Freeman is a truly great company.

Our business will integrate with Freeman’s large AV event services division. I am resolute in the belief that this acquisition by Freeman is the most positive outcome for our employees, and the synergy between our two businesses will establish a strong base for the next stage in our Company’s evolution, providing many exciting opportunities for our people and our clients.

Staging CEO Tony Chamberlain has emerged a hero, after staunching the debt and holding a steady hand while dealing with at best a difficult board. Now he has led his staff out of the wilderness.


Tony Chamberlain, pictured below

Tony Chamberlain 008 cropped LRes


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