Special Events Market Tightens: Caribiner Buyout of Envision Could Increase Industry Competition

BOSTON-New England’s meetings and special events market got a little smaller recently when New York-based Caribiner International bought Envision Corp. in Boston.
The new entity, called Envision/Caribiner, combines the existing Boston offices of both shops. The move could provide heightened competition for other local specialty marketing companies, industry executives said. However, some competitors believe the thinning out of the market will mean more business for them in the long run.
“[Caribiner] is going to come in and take some of the business, but every year we’re going to go up against competition. National companies [have] come in here before, but it doesn’t scare me; it just keeps me on my toes,” said Ellen Burnett, president of The Best of Boston, a 17-year-old events management company in Waltham, Mass.
“We see it as an advantage in that one of our major competitors is gone from the marketplace,” said Pat Rossin, senior vice president and general manager of The Jack Morton Co., a competing firm in Boston. “Clients tend to like choices, and now there is one less choice.”
From Envision/Caribiner’s point of view, combining the two entities gives the new company superior purchasing power and expanded service offerings such as communications consulting, print design and interactive media, said Caribiner vice president Lee Rubinstein.
“Our clients are looking for an integrated solution and a global reach. For us, this was a perfect marriage,” added Susan McIntosh, the former Envison president who now serves as vice president of Envision/Caribiner.
Former Envision chief executive officer Warner Low is now vice president and executive creative director of the new company.
Former Envision operations manager Nancy Parker is Envision/Caribiner’s general manager.
Envision has been in the New England market for nearly 30 years, handling assignments for such companies as The Gillette Co., Lotus Development Corp., Polaroid Corp. and Converse.
Caribiner has maintained an office in Boston for the past three years.
“Clearly, [Caribiner is] a big international player, but I’m just not sure how much synergy there is in being an international player in the events-planning market [in Boston],” said Jeff Janer, chief executive officer of Larry Miller Production in Boston.