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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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

Reed Business Information sells New Scientist

New ScientistReed Business Information (RBI) has sold New Scientist and its associated products and events to Kingston Acquisitions Limited, a company established by the former management team of Times Educational Supplement for the purpose of acquiring New Scientist. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

First published in 1956, New Scientist is a weekly science and technology magazine. The magazine covers current developments, news, reviews and commentary on science and technology. It also publishes speculative articles, ranging from the technical to the philosophical. A readers’ letters section discusses recent articles, and discussions also take place on the website. It has an average circulation (ABC audit) of 125,000, 82% print and 18% digital. 56% of it circulation is in the UK and Ireland, 44% ROW.

Kingston Acquisitions is led by by Sir Bernard Gray. Gray spent nearly ten years as a journalist at the Financial Times Group, including as a defence correspondent. Later he became chief executive of UBM’s, CMP Information. In 2005 Gray was appointed chief executive of TSL Education Limited, publisher of the Times Educational Supplement, when it was acquired by Exponent. He has been a defence adviser on defence spending to both the labour and conservative governments.

RBI is part of Relx (formerly Reed Elsevier). Relx has sold off the majority of its magazine publishing businesses. Its strategy is to move away from print revenues and instead to develop information-based analytics and decision tools that deliver enhanced value to customers.

UK, London

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Euromoney acquires a 49% stake in BroadGroup

Euromoney has acquired an initial 49% stake in BroadGroup, a London-based events and publishing business operating in the fast-growing area of data centre and cloud services, together with their financing. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

BroadGroup was founded in 2002 by an entrepreneur Philip Low who, over the past decade, has successfully built and hosted a series of events for data centre, cloud and IT infrastructure executives. In June, BroadGroup hosts its flagship event, Datacloud Global Congress, an annual event in Monaco attended by delegates from more than 50 countries and has additional events in the Nordic and Asia markets. It is the leading networking and deal making forum for data centre and cloud IT infrastructure end-users, software, solutions providers, investors and a broad range of companies engaged in the sector.

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

Rosalind Irving stated: “We admire the position in the market occupied by BroadGroup’s events and we feel that the business has excellent growth potential. This can be maximised by our two organisations joining forces to offer a valuable series of events for the dynamic and rapidly developing telecoms market”

“BroadGroup is focused on continued growth in data centre markets globally, and this exciting project joining forces with Euromoney allows us to accelerate the expansion of our flagship brands to become leaders in each region,” said Philip Low, chairman. “This new opportunity reinforces our strategy to deliver value for our customers, sponsors and delegates at events around the world.”

UK, London

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Informa acquires Yachting Promotions for £106M

flibsInforma is to acquire Yachting Promotions Inc. (“YPI”) from Active Interest Media, a privately-owned specialist US media group backed by PE firm Wind Point Partners. The YPI portfolio includes the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the largest in the world, plus Yachts Miami Beach, Palm Beach International Boat Show, Suncoast Boat Show and the St Petersburg Power and Sailboat Show.

Information will pay a cash consideration of $133m (£106m), including $5m which is subject to the business meeting performance and operating targets. Based on its results in the 12 months ended 31 December 2016, this represents a trailing acquisition multiple of 11.5 times EBITDA. The business also brings with it around $40m of net operating losses that are deductible for US tax purposes over a number of years, equating to a net present value of $33.9m. The inclusion of these tax assets implies a multiple of 8.6 times EBITDA.

Stephen A. Carter, Informa Group Chief Executive, said: “Following three years of private discussions, we are delighted to bring YPI into the Group. It will deepen our leadership in the growing international yachting and boating sector, with its attractive exhibitions complementing our existing ownership of the Monaco Yacht Show.”

On completion, the addition of YPI will make Informa’s Global Exhibitions Division the largest contributor to Group revenues and profit, with annual sales of more than £500m. The Division operates a portfolio of about 200 exhibition brands. 

The acquisition further increases Informa’s scale in the US, where the Group has been buying and building a position over recent years through a combination of organic investment and a series of targeted acquisitions in verticals including Construction & Real Estate (Hanley Wood Exhibitions, WWETT), Natural Products (Virgo, Penton), Agriculture (Penton), Life Sciences (FIME) and Pop Culture (Orlando MegaCon, Dallas Comicon). Following the addition of YPI, on a pro-forma basis the US is expected to represent more than 50% of Group revenues and also over half of the Global Exhibitions Division.

The consideration will be funded through existing debt facilities. It is anticipated that the Group’s net debt to EBITDA ratio will be around 2.6 times immediately following completion, falling within the Group’s target range of 2.0 times to 2.5 times by the end of 2017. Completion is expected by early March. 

Note: On 6 March, Informa will announce full-year results for the 12-month period ending 31 December 2016.

UK, London & USA, El Segundo, CA

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