CPRi Merges With Aquent

CHICAGO Businesses may say they are spending more on marketing, but limited budgets are forcing some to turn to hiring interim experts, which has fueled the growth of flexible staffing firms like Corporate Project Resources Inc.

CPRi, which has grown to $25 million in annual revenue from $18 million last year (thanks partly to three acquisitions over the past 16 months) is itself merging with Aquent.

The deal combines CPRi’s marketing staffing resources with the Boston company’s pool of creative talent—graphic designers, Web designers, copywriters—to create a $335 million company spread over a network of 60 offices in 16 countries.

The union expands CPRi’s geographic reach and brings a stable of event planners, market researchers and brand managers to Aquent, which also provides information technology, healthcare and financial outsourcing.

“The use of independent professionals and freelancers has grown very rapidly, and our folks are not only used for tactical areas but for strategic issues as well,” said John Chuang, Aquent chief executive. “We have a combined database of 50,000 marketing professionals worldwide, so we can bring the right skill at the right time worldwide.”

The new entity will be called Aquent Marketing Staffing and be based in Chicago. It is led by Sean Bisceglia, president, who was the founder and CEO of CPRi.

Company executives project annual revenue will double to $50 million by the end of next year.

“Aquent has a whole bunch of clients but not a lot of crossover, so there are many great cross-selling opportunities,” said Bisceglia. “We’ll spend on marketing campaigns by way of blogging, search-engine optimization, strategic sponsorships, trade shows and philanthropy. With the combination of geographic and cross-selling expansion, we expect to double what we provide now.”