June 27, 2023
MSouth Announces Acquisition of Fern Exposition Services
Company Joins Forces with Nth Degree for Growth in Event, Experiential Marketing
ATLANTA, Ga (June 27, 2023) – MSouth Equity Partners (msouth.com), an Atlanta-based private equity firm, today announced the acquisition of Fern Exposition Services, a leading tradeshow service provider and general contractor with headquarters in Cincinnati Ohio. The value of the deal was not disclosed.
Fern will join forces with Nth Degree, an existing MSouth portfolio company and provider of comprehensive tradeshow management, labor, and event production to some of the biggest brands in the U.S. and internationally. The combination of Nth Degree and Fern gives MSouth a substantial footprint in the in-person event and experiential marketing industries.
“The consumer and business event market is in the midst of a substantial resurgence,” said Barry Boniface, an MSouth Partner. “Spending in that segment is projected to outpace overall advertising and marketing investments as brands shift budgets to activities that engage buyers, create emotional connections, and increase sales. We believe that is a significant opportunity.”
Fern (fernexpo.com) services over 1,400 tradeshows and events annually as an official services provider including multiple top-100 shows. Fern will be led by long-time company executives Steve Larsen, COO, Michael Cox, Executive Vice President, and Senior Vice President Neil McMullin. Aaron Bludworth, current Fern CEO, and J.T. Barclay, current Fern CFO, will retire after supporting the leadership transition. John Hense, Nth Degree CEO and Samantha French, Nth Degree CFO, will take on the additional responsibilities currently being performed by Bludworth and Barclay.
“This is an exciting combination that enhances the powerful offerings that both Fern and Nth Degree provide to our customers,” said Bludworth. “I’m grateful for the dedication of the Fern leadership team and employees throughout the company and see great opportunities ahead as they continue to exceed customer expectations under the leadership of Mike, Steve, Neil and the Nth Degree executive team.”
Nth Degree (nthdegree.com) offers a range of services including exhibit and event labor, installation supervision, tradeshow management, retail installation and transportation to its clients spanning all industries. Nth Degree operates throughout the U.S. with foreign operations in Canada, Europe and Asia. In addition, the company’s event division – Nth Degree Events (nthdegreeevents.com) – creates large-scale corporate meetings, user conferences and exhibitions that drive growth and create memorable experiences for consumers and business buyers. The company delivers more than 4,000 different industry events, conferences, congresses, and exhibitions annually. Nth Degree will continue to be led by Hense and French along with Russell Greenway, CCO, and Robert Lowe, president of Nth Degree Events, and other members of the company’s executive team.
“Although Nth Degree and Fern will continue to operate independently, our customers will gain substantial benefits,” said Hense. “Nth Degree and Fern clients get greater resources in more cities around the country and internationally. We’ll also be able to offer expanded event services including space and sponsorship sales, strategy, speaker management, housing services, and more.”
About MSouth Equity Partners
MSouth Equity Partners is a private equity investment firm that provides equity capital and expertise to support management teams in acquisitions and recapitalizations of lower middle market companies typically valued between $25 million and $250 million. Based in Atlanta and Nashville, MSouth invests primarily in the South with a consistent focus on management buyouts of business services, specialty distribution, niche manufacturing, healthcare services, and telecommunications/media companies. With more than $2.2 billion of capital raised across four funds, MSouth is a successor to Cravey, Green & Wahlen, Inc., which was founded in 1984. For more information please visit https://www.msouth.com/