Home TopicMergers & Acquisitions Steve Monnington rounds up this month’s mergers and acquisitions

Steve Monnington rounds up this month’s mergers and acquisitions

by EN

Steve Monnington of Mayfield Merger Strategies rounds up the last month’s mergers and acquisitions and sees a flurry of activity.

Exhibition acquisitions are well and truly back. Since my last column there have been 14 transactions announced involving 12 different buyers. Let’s start with the UK.


In my last column I covered Arc’s acquisition of part of Incisive Media – their third acquisition since the business was formed by Simon Foster and backed by EagleTree and Canson Capital Partners in May last year. Arc’s 4th and most recent deal is Bridge2Food, a membership and events business in the plant-based food and proteins industry. The business is based in Holland, so their first in mainland Europe, with a network of over 10,000 business and technical experts in the food industry. Increasingly, acquisitions are becoming more about data and communities rather than traditional tradeshows. 


In another acquisition which combines physical and digital, Clarion have acquired Digital Insurance Agenda (DIA), a European event series serving the insurtech market with festivals in Barcelona, Amsterdam and Munich together with content platforms that include DIA TV. This is a synergistic addition to InsureTech Connect, a Las Vegas based event which was acquired by Clarion in 2019 and which has been geo-cloned into Singapore. 

Nineteen Group 

One company that is sticking to the tradeshow model is Nineteen Group has acquired the Hennik Group, organisers of Digital Manufacturing Week and Smart Factory Expo. They also publish The Manufacturer. Their portfolio also includes summits, virtual events and industry awards. Hennik Group was founded by Nick Hussey and Henry Anson and is a logical addition to the Nineteen portfolio having launched Engineering and Manufacturing Week earlier this year. 

Mark Allen Group

Mark Allen Group have notched up their 24th acquisition in 10 years with the acquisition of Heelec, organiser of EMEX, the net zero and energy management exhibition. EMEX was founded in 2013 by Jason Franks and Liberal Democrat peer, Lord Redesdale and is particularly relevant to the current massive increase in energy costs that companies are facing. It follows the interest generated by the United Nations Climate Change Conference, Cop 26, which was held last year in Glasgow. Earlier this year Mark Allen Group acquired Regen, the regeneration event held in Liverpool. 


Moving into mainland Europe, Italian Exhibition Group (IEG), through has acquired 75% of V Group, organiser of the Myplant & Garden exhibition for the horticultural-floricultural and gardening sector. The show was launched in 2015 and the acquisition is aimed at both consolidating the shows’ status as leader in the Italian market as well as opening up opportunities for launch internationally. IEG was formed in 2016 through the merger of the Rimini and Vicenza fairgrounds and, as well as Italy, operates in Mexico, Brazil, Dubai and China. 


Nuremberg-based trade fair organiser AFAG has acquired NETCOMM, organiser of shows including  the Munich Security Expo, the Munich Human Resources Fair and the Sales Marketing Fair following the retirement of Walter and Renate Richter. AFAG has been in existence since 1947, always as a family company and has a wide portfolio of trade and consumer show. 


To China and the news that HK organiser Paper Communications, organiser of DMP – the Greater Bay Area Industrial Expo has tied up with Messe Stuttgart to incorporate FuMaTech, International Future Manufacturing Technology Conference and and iRACE, the International Robotics & Automation Conference and Exhibition, into DMP. This is a long-term cooperation between the two organisers, the China Robot Industry Alliance (CRIA), the China office of the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) and the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association (VDW) to create a business platform where leading technologies & solutions from China and abroad are showcased to Greater Bay Area manufacturing industries. 

Hyve continues to tidy up their portfolio with the sale of their 50% stake in Debindo-ITE in Indonesia, organiser of construction show Indobuildtech. The Joint Venture was originally created in 2014 when ITE (as was) acquired the shares as part of an expansion into Asia. Over the last few years Hyve has been exiting from several of their older emerging markets businesses such as Russia and Kazakhstan. Indobuildtech has suffered as a result of the COVID lockdown and the shares have been sold back to the Debindo local management. 


There are also five deals in the USA to report on. In three separate transactions. Marketplace Events has acquired the Cleveland Christmas Connection from Industry Realty Group (IRG), 

Denver Colorado Country Christmas Gift Show from Showcase Events and the Pennsylvania Christmas & Gift Show from its owner, Pennsylvania Christmas Show. Backed by Private Equity firm Sentinel Capital Partners from 2016 to 2020, they have grown by acquisition to become the largest producer of business to consumer home shows in North America.

Another acquisitive US media business, Endeavour Media, has made their 4th acquisition this year, buying Construction Business Media, publisher of  Architectural Products, and Architectural SSL magazines. This follows the acquisition of Interiors + Sources, BUILDINGS, and the BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association) trade show partnership earlier this year. 

Mark Johnson, chairman of The STAR Group has acquired Exhibitor Media Group which publishes Exhibitor magazine, organises the ExhibitorLive trade show which recently ran in Las Vegas. They also produce a professional learning events and platforms for industry connection and education, including the EXHIBITORFastTrak accelerated learning regional conferences; EXHIBITOR eTrak professional online learning, complimentary EXHIBITORInsight webinars and the industry’s only university-affiliated Certified Trade Show Marketer (CTSM) professional certification program.

Info Salons

In 2018 I was very excited for Jo-Anne Kelleway, founder of Info Salons in the early 1990’s, sold the business to Freeman. Four years later the business has been split in two and sold on. Info Salons Middle East has been sold to Italian Strategic Research firm, GRS Research and Strategy, who in common with Info Salons, work for many of the blue-chip exhibition organisers. Info Salons Greater China and South East Asia have been separated from the Middle East business and also sold although the buyer was not disclosed and is thought to include Info Salons management. The two businesses will continue to work together.

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