The event services supplier is one of the largest in Europe. It bought 360 Creative Event Services and Netherlands-based registration company N200 last year. These acquisitions added nearly 100 people to SO Group's staff and increased its turnover by approximately £13m, according to Walley.
Walley said the group is planning further acquisitions this year. "I imagine it will be in the sphere of three to five companies," he said. "We've had discussions with some of them. We will acquire companies that will take us up the food chain and add value to what our clients want. It could be a supplier that adds to our offering, or a small agency that is struggling to get big pitches and can add to our ability to understand how our clients want to interact."
SO Group now offers services including data, creative services, AV, technical, floral and furnishings. It has eight offices, including the N200 workplaces in the Netherlands and Germany.
Walley added: "The consolidation of smaller players is important to the market, so long as it doesn't become anti-competitive.
"Merging with N200 increased our revenue by approximately 10% and the company is now completely fused with SO Visit, our registration division," he said. "SO Visit still operates out of the same office in Watford but it means that we have an office in Europe as well. It's given us a little bit of penetration into central Europe and we hope we can use that as a stepping stone."
Walley was previously the chairman of 360 and became chief executive of SO Group after the group bought 360 in August.
He also plans to make three or four hires in the senior management team for the exhibitions side of the business.
Will we see more mergers and aquisitions in 2013 than in 2012? Comment below and let us know.
For our in-depth feature on mergers and aquisitions in the industry, see Event magazine's October 2012 issue. You can get it by subscribing here.