Steve Monnington of Mayfield Media Strategies runs the rule over the latest global exhibition deals.
Looking back at 2016, it was a very busy year for M&A – there were 72 exhibition transactions (compared to 60 in 2015) with 38 different purchasers.
In terms of deal value, notable transactions included Informa’s acquisition of Penton (USA) for US$1.6bn and UBM’s acquisition of Allworld (Asia) for $485m.
The private equity-owned organisers such as Clarion, Emerald and Marketplace Events were among the most active acquirers along with Artexis Easyfairs.
China finally got its act together with four deals in the last two months, but the USA easily led the field with 27 transactions.
Here are the last transactions of 2016:
Tarsus finished off 2016 with the acquisition of 65 per cent of Foshan Huaxia, the organiser of home textiles exhibition in China, Hometex. The event takes place twice a year in Shenzhen and the March edition of the show fills the whole of the Shenzhen Exhibition Centre, giving a big opportunity to grow when the new exhibition centre – scheduled to be 300,000sqm as the first phase – opens in 2019. The acquisition capped a busy fourth quarter for Tarsus following acquisitions of another China business, Shanghai Intex (50 per cent) and Connect Meetings in the USA (80.1 per cent).
Staying in China, Informa formed a joint venture with Shanghai Zhanye Exhibition Co, organisers of China Floor Expo and China Mortar Expo. The new JV company, Shanghai Yingye Exhibition Co. Ltd, will launch the World of Concrete Asia, which will incorporate the brands acquired from Zhanye. This is the second recent Chinese acquisition for Informa following their purchase of the Chengdu Beauty Expo a couple of months ago.
Rounding off the year
Another prolific acquirer in 2016 was US organiser Emerald Expositions. They rounded off 2016 with the acquisition of American Craft Retailers Expo (ACRE) – two shows taking place annually in Las Vegas and Philadelphia.
ACRE Las Vegas will take place during Las Vegas Jewellery Week in early June and will be co-located with Emerald’s Antique Jewellery & Watch Show. Emerald’s Couture show, for designer fine jewellery and luxury timepieces, also takes place in Las Vegas in the same week. In the past two months, Emerald also acquired RFID Journal LIVE!, National Pavement Expo and Digital Dealer Conference & Expo.
Since Sentinel Capital acquired Marketplace Events in January last year, the company has been hoovering up home shows across the USA. Their last deal of 2016 – six events in North Carolina – were acquired from Southern Shows.
Artexis Easyfairs also featured heavily in 2016. However, they rounded off 2016 in a different way, buying back the 12 per cent shareholding held by their partner Finance.brussels, who have been involved in Artexis since 1997. Following purchase of the shares, the management now owns 100 per cent of the business.
Finishing off this month, Ascential looks set to complete their shift to events and digital publishing, originally announced in 2015, with the announcement that they are selling all but one of their print titles and bidding farewell to the EMAP brand.
The 13 titles to be hived off into a separate company, pending sale, include many renowned brands such as Drapers, Nursing Times and Construction News. The only print title that will be retained is Retail Week, which will be run alongside Ascential’s digital brands Planet Retail and One Click Retail.