New Biz Deals: STAR Group, Marketplace Events and More Make Acquisitions, Secure and Renew Strategic Partnerships

December 11, 2023

Q4 2023 has been a busy time for the trade show industry, with event-related organizations across the country inking new business deals, extending partnerships and consolidating companies as they prepare for a robust start to 2024.

STAR Group 

Experiential marketing and trade show exhibit company STAR Group recently acquired Exhibit Edge, a Washington, DC-based exhibition and events company.  

According to STAR Group officials, the combined expertise of both companies will not only elevate the level of creativity, innovation and client-focused solutions for the exhibits, environments and events industry but also open up new opportunities for the companies to collaborate on larger, more varied projects while being better positioned to support clients.

The Exhibit Edge team will continue to operate from its current facilities in Chantilly, Va. 

Marketplace Events 

In October, Marketplace Events (MPE) acquired the SAHBA Home & Garden Shows (Spring and Fall editions) in Tucson, Ariz., from the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association (SAHBA).

Marketplace Events

According to Tom Baugh, CEO of Marketplace Events, which produces more than 70 B2C shows annually, the company has a long history of acquiring and growing consumer shows originally owned by nonprofit homebuilder’s associations (HBAs). 

“It’s a natural fit for MPE to acquire established HBA shows and use our resources to build an even stronger foundation supporting their legacy of helping local home improvement businesses grow and thrive,” Baugh said. 

To be managed by veteran Group Manager Dave Maughan, the Spring and Fall Home & Garden Shows will take place March 15-17 and Oct. 25-27 at the Tucson Convention Center, respectively.


The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) selected Smithbucklin to serve as the organization’s first association management partner. As part of the agreement, AAML will transition from a standalone association to a member of Smithbucklin’s Professional Societies and Communities client network.

“We look forward to establishing a relationship with AAML built on trust, solutions, and growth,” said Jim McNeil, president of association management at Smithbucklin. “Our passionate and talented teams will work together to help AAML attract new demographics and specialists to the field and execute a cohesive strategy from the board’s diverse and valuable perspectives.”

A leader in family law continuing education, publications, networking and training, AAML is comprised of nearly 1,400 members who provide a wide range of legal services in all issues related to marriage and divorce. The search for an AAML executive director is currently underway. 


The International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) tapped Grit Productions & Expositions (Grit), a single-source provider of live event services and equipment, to serve as production partner for Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition in 2023 and 2024, and as both production and show partner in 2025. 

“The entire Grit Team is excited and proud of this partnership with IAEE,” said Kelly Massey, managing partner of Grit. “We were privileged to work closely with IAEE through the trials of the pandemic; broadcasting and facilitating IAEE meetings from Grit Studio. We are looking forward to continuing that partnership with our production and expo services for the next three years.” 

ASM Global

Global venue management company and live events producer ASM Global has secured and extended venue operations and management contracts with convention centers throughout the U.S. in this quarter.

In October, the Jekyll Island Convention Center (JICC) in Jekyll Island, Ga., renewed its management agreement through 2029 with ASM Global, which has operated the Silver LEED-certified venue since its opening in May 2012. The Jekyll Island Authority (JIA) board approved the management term extension for an additional five years followed by an option for an additional five-year renewal. 

The Oncenter Convention Center

Also in October, ASM Global renewed its 10-year partnership with Onondaga County, NY, to manage The Oncenter and Empower FCU Amphitheater at Lakeview in Syracuse.

ASM Global will continue to manage The Oncenter, a multipurpose convention and entertainment facility, comprising the 99,000-square-foot Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center, the 7,000-seat Upstate Medical Arena at The Oncenter War Memorial and the three performance theaters in the John H. Mulroy Civic Center. Also included in the deal is the 17,500-capacity Empower FCU Amphitheater at Lakeview, a lakeside outdoor concert venue.


Have a new trade show-related business deal to share? Please send announcements to


Don’t miss any event-related news: Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter HERE, listen to our latest podcast HERE and engage with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn!

Add new comment

Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact