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Dealmakers: Steve Monnington sees geopolitical impact on markets

by EN

In his latest dealmakers column for Exhibition News Steve Monnington of Mayfield Merger Strategies says organisers in Russian markets are already seeing the impact of the impact of the humanitarian crisis on share prices. 

Two weeks in (at the time of writing), the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing humanitarian crisis gets grimmer by the day. The effects on business is felt by those organisers that run shows in those markets. Given that Hyve had thriving businesses in both Russia and Ukraine, their share price drop has been significant but they have reinforced their omnichannel strategy with the acquisition of US organiser Fintech Meetup. The business was launched in early 2021 by Anil Aggarwal who has a history of creating and selling technology events – Money 20/20 sold to Ascential and ShopTalk, Groceryshop and Retail Meetup were all previously acquired by Hyve.

The 2nd edition of Fintech Meetup which opens on 22 March was originally planned as a physical event following the virtual event launch last year. However, following feedback from the community and, against the trend of the exhibition formats of most organisers following the relaxing of Covid-19 policies in the western world, it will continue as a purely virtual event. The business is very early stage – 2021 revenue of US$1.3m and a loss of US $3.8m – but growth expectations are extremely high, as evidenced by the deal structure of US$5m paid now and an earnout of up to US$50m based on results over the next few years. Hyve sees several of its key opportunities for accelerating its omnichannel strategy in the fintech market, so we can expect Fintech Meetup to expand its operations using Hyve’s infrastructure.
Hyve has been working steadily to rebalance their business away from the markets upon which the original ITE business was founded as evidenced by their sale of 56 non-core Russian events in 2018 and the exit from their Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan businesses in 2021 and 2021, moving into high growth areas such as Shoptalk and the 121 mining investment business acquired at the end of 2021.

Raccoon’s first acquisition
Any budding event entrepreneurs who are tempted to start their own business can do no better than study the progress of Raccoon Events from its inception in 2016, through the lockdown hell of 2020 and 2021 and out the other side into a bright 2022. Raccoon was founded on the launch of The National Running Show and, at the time, this was the extent of CEO Mike Seaman’s plans. However this quickly changed following the success of the first event and the company has grown through regional launches, new sectors (outdoor, cycling and snow), geographical expansion (Run Shows in the USA) and the start of an omnichannel business with Run Show TV and the Outside and Active digital platform. All events are B2C but using a B2B revenue model.
They very recently launched the National Equine show and, just in case we thought they might pause for breath, this has been followed by the announcement of their first acquisition – the Snowbound festivals – acquired from Snowsports Industries America (SIA), a not for profit member-owned association for the USA winter outdoor industry. As part of the deal, Raccoon and SIA have formed a long-term partnership with a commitment to launch multiple new Snowbound events across the USA. Crucially, the move
has been supported by some of the biggest brands in the snow sports industry and is one of the first examples of a direct to consumer model for the exhibition sector.

MAG acquire Regen
Mark Allen Group (MAG) has acquired the Regen exhibition and conference from Eton Events. It’s very small but includes several interesting sectors under its regeneration banner – such as construction, urban planning, civil engineering and renewable energy.
Over the last 10 years, MAG has acquired more than 20 businesses – a combination of non-core assets from some of the larger organisers as well as single publications and exhibition/conferences such as Regen.

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