Blackstone Acquires Clarion Events

ClarionPrivate equity firm Blackstone has acquired Clarion Events from Providence Equity Partners.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is being reported that Blackstone pre-empted the second round of an auction for Clarion by submitting a £600 million bid to Providence. Rival bidders included Cinven and Xio, the Chinese investment company.

Founded in 1947, headquartered in London and with almost 1000 employees in 13 offices worldwide, Clarion operates over 180 events and exhibitions in more than 50 countries globally across a range of vertical markets, including Retail & Home, Gaming, Defence and Security, Technology and Energy. Clarion’s best known events include The Olympia Horse Show, House & Garden Show and the Conde Nast Traveller Luxury Fair.

Lionel Assant, Head of European Private Equity at Blackstone, said: “We are delighted to invest in Clarion and back Chairman Simon Kimble and CEO Russell Wilcox in the company’s next chapter.  Clarion’s leading position in its markets combined with its strong management team will enable the company to continue growing both organically and through M&A.  Blackstone has a significant track record of investing in media businesses as well as buy and build platforms.  We look forward to working together with management to capitalise on its success.”

Providence, which acquired Clarion in 2015 for around £200 million, has an option to reinvest a portion of its proceeds from the sale into Clarion.

Russell Wilcox, CEO of Clarion Events, added: “We are extremely excited about our new partnership with Blackstone and see a great future going forward.  The management team has enjoyed an immensely productive and successful relationship with Providence, who have been tremendous partners over the last two years.  We have been impressed with Blackstone’s ambition and approach.  With their support and strategic leadership, we will be looking to expand our global platform even further, both through consistent organic growth and the successful integration of acquisitions into the portfolio.”

Further reporting

UK, London

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A Fusion Deal: Layer123 sold to Euromoney

layer123Layer123, a content and sponsorship-led events business focusing on innovation in the rapidly-evolving space of telecoms network strategy, has sold a 61% stake in the business to Euromoney. Fusion Corporate Partners acted as corporate advisor for Layer123. The Fusion team was led by Mark Eisenstadt, Director at Fusion. The terms of the deals were not disclosed. Euromoney has options to acquire the rest of the equity in Layer123 over the next few years.

EuromoneyLayer123 was launched in 2010 and offers telecoms network events specialising in knowledge exchange between technical and network strategy teams from telecoms operators, software and hardware vendors and other service providers. The main focus of the business is network innovation for carriers, including SDN (Software-Defined Networks), NFV (Network Functions Virtualization), SD-WAN (Software-Defined WAN), Security, 5G Core, Access & Transport Networking and Optical Networking.

The founders, Robert Jones and Mark Lum, will remain with the business for at least the next three years. Mark Lum is a widely respected analyst with over 30 years’ experience in carrier network markets. Robert Jones has 20 years’ experience in event organisation, founding and building some of the world’s leading telecoms networking conferences and exhibitions.

Layer123 will be managed as part of Rosalind Irving’s Telcap portfolio, further expanding Euromoney’s presence in the telecoms markets.

“Layer123 welcomes the opportunity to join the Euromoney family of events and knowledge-based businesses”, said Robert Jones. “We see real opportunities to build the business over the coming years within such a well-regarded organisation. As a fan of the Capacity events for well over a decade, I’m confident that Layer123 will feel very much at home. We look forward to working with you!”

mark-eisenstadt_f_1_120_1Speaking about the sale, Fusion’s Mark Eisenstadt said, “It was a pleasure to represent Mark Lum & Robert Jones and their market leading business, Layer123. They have created the industry knowledge exchange for network strategy professionals. Euromoney offer the right philosophy, experience and resources to help exploit the enormous market opportunities offered by this dynamic and disruptive innovation sector. Fusion previously represented Telcap in their acquisition by Euromoney and have witnessed it’s further meteoric growth under their guidance. We trust this new partnership will breed similar success.”

UK, London

Other Fusion Media & Business Information

List of all Fusion Transactions – HERE

Centaur Media Plc sells Home Interest Business for £32 million and acquires MarketMakers for an initial consideration of £13.4 million

Centaur Media Plc is to sell its business-to-consumer division, Home Interest for £32 million to Future plc and at the same time, acquire MarketMakers Incorporated Limited, an integrated marketing services businesses, for an initial consideration of £13.4 million with a deferred earnout amount based on EBITDA performance.

The proceeds from the sale of Home Interest will be used to pay for the acquisition of MarketMakers. Therefore completion of the acquisition is conditional on completion of the sale.

MarketMakers had revenues of £11.4 million and adjusted EBITDA of £1.7 million for year ended 31 December 2016. It is ranked as the No.1 telemarketing agency in the UK by B2B Marketing and has achieved growth in revenues of 27% over the last three years.

Centaur’s Home Interest division includes Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living and Real Homes.

The transactions help Centaur focus on becoming a B2B digital, business intelligence and events company and to reduce its reliance on print and advertising .

Andria Vidler, Chief Executive, commented: “These transactions are a major step forward in the continuing transformation of Centaur into a B2B focussed business, providing our increasingly professional customer base with a range of higher value-added products and services.

“The process of taking Centaur up the B2B value chain continues, and these transactions are a very significant step forward in our ambitions.”

UK, London

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Pearson to sell a 22% stake in Penguin Random House to JV partner Bertelsmann for $1 billion.

Pearson PLC is to sell a 22% stake in the Penguin Random House (PRH) to joint venture partner Bertelsmann for approximately $1 billion to bolster its balance sheet and return around £300 million to shareholders.

This sale values the PRH at an enterprise value of $3.55 billion. The transaction is expected to close in September 2017. Pearson’s ownership of PRH will fall to 25%.

John Fallon, Pearson’s chief executive, said: “Combining Penguin with Random House has proved to be a great publishing success, as well as enabling some big cost savings. This has benefited readers, authors, and shareholders. Today’s deal enables Pearson to realise a significant amount of the value we’ve helped to create whilst continuing to be part of the world’s biggest and best trade publisher. We will use the proceeds to maintain our strong balance sheet, invest in our business and return £300m to shareholders.”

The Penguin Random House Board comprises:

Phil Hoffman – Chairman, Penguin Random House
Markus Dohle – Chief Executive Officer, Penguin Random House
Milena Alberti – Chief Financial Officer, Penguin Random House
John Fallon – Chief Executive Officer, Pearson
Coram Williams – Chief Financial Officer, Pearson
Thomas Rabe – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Bertelsmann
Thomas Goetz – General Counsel and Head of Legal Department, Bertelsmann
Bernd Hirsch – Chief Financial Officer, Bertelsmann
Gail Rebuck – Member of the Bertelsmann Group Management Committee
Emmanuel Roman – Chief Executive Officer, PIMCO
Lauren Zalaznick – Media Executive

UK, London & USA, New York, NY & Germany, Gütersloh

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BC Partners sells minority stake in Mergermarket Group to GIC

 

Private equity firm BC Partners has sold a 30% stake in the Mergermarket Group to GIC, the Singapore headquartered investment firm.

Founded in London in 2000, Mergermarket is a global financial intelligence company, providing corporate financial news and analysis through a wide variety of different products. It offers proprietary, forward-looking and actionable intelligence that cannot be accessed elsewhere, to a wide range of investor, advisory and corporate subscribers. Today, the company has over 1,200 staff in 65 different locations worldwide.

Mergermarket was acquired by BC Partners via a carve-out from Pearson plc in 2014 for £382 million and since that time has delivered impressive double-digit top-line growth each year, with EBITDA approximately doubling over the period. BC Partners has worked closely with the Mergermarket management team on a number of key initiatives to accelerate this growth, including transforming its IT platform, enhancing the data offering, and supporting seven strategic add-on acquisitions that have expanded the business into new product areas.Following the transaction, BC Partners will continue to hold more than a 60% stake in Mergermarket and will work closely alongside GIC as the company embarks on its next chapter of growth.

Nikos Stathopoulos, Managing Partner at BC Partners, commented: “BC Partners invested in Mergermarket due to its must-have data and information, attractive subscription-based business model, consistent track record of growth and strong management team. The company has gone from strength to strength over the past three years of our ownership and we are delighted to welcome GIC as our new partner in Mergermarket’s next growth phase.”

Choo Yong Cheen, CIO of Private Equity at GIC, commented: “Mergermarket is a clear leader in its sector led by a strong management team. The Company provides subscribers with essential and often proprietary content, driving strong renewal rates and impressive long-term growth. We look forward to working with BC Partners and supporting the business in achieving its ambitions over the coming years.”

Hamilton Matthews, CEO at the Mergermarket Group, commented: “We are delighted to welcome GIC as our new partner alongside BC Partners. Our business has grown tremendously and it is a testament to the hard work of everyone at the group that we are now joined on our ongoing journey by another prestigious investor such as GIC. We look forward to working with both BC Partners and GIC in exploring the exciting opportunities in front of us.”

UK, London and Singapore

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XLMedia PLC acquires Securethoughts.com for $2M

XLMdia PLC, a provider of performance marketing, has acquired Securethoughts.com, a US cyber security comparison website, for $2.0 million.

Ory Weihs, Chief Executive Officer of XLMedia, commented: “We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Securethoughts, our first and significant publishing asset in the fast growing cyber security sector. Securethoughts represents another excellent opportunity for XLMedia to increase its North American presence, diversify its revenues and establish a foothold in another vertical. This acquisition is a further step in executing our successful strategy of diversifying our activities and expanding into additional markets and geographies.”

Previous acquisitions:

UK, Jersey, St. Helier

Mark Allen Group acquires Unity Media and Unity Exhibitions

Mark Allen Group (MAG) has acquired Kent-based Unity Media Plc and its sister company, Unity Exhibitions Ltd.  The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Unity Media publishes a number of brands in the built environment. They include: Roofing, Cladding & Insulation (RCI), Glass & Glazing, Heating & Plumbing Monthly, Building Products and Your Build. 

Unity Exhibitions Ltd organises the annual RCI Show, to be next held in November at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.

This is the second acquisition MAG has made this year and follows the purchase two months ago of the special educational needs’ exhibition, TES SEN Show, from TES Global Ltd.

Unity Media, which was set up in 1995 and has been owned by Dennis and Jean Taylor, will be moving from its offices in Sevenoaks in July to MAG’s Dartford base.

Mark Allen, the Chairman of MAG said: “Like me, Dennis is a member of the Stationers’ Company that represents publishing, print and packaging and we got to know one another over a dinner at Stationers’ Hall. When he told me that his business-to-business brands would be up for sale, I was immediately interested. Dennis is a decent and honourable man so agreement was easy. We trust one another so we did not even sign an NDA.

UK, London & Dartford