CloserStill Media acquires a majority stake in The eLearning Guild in the US

CloserStillCloserStill Media has acquired a majority stake in FocusZone Media, Inc., operating as The eLearning Guild, for an undisclosed sum. The eLearning Guild has a 40,000+ membership community of learning and development professionals in the United States and across the world. The Guild operates major conferences and exhibitions including DevLearn (Las Vegas, NV), Learning Solutions (Orlando, FL) and Realities 360 (San Jose, CL) and has a number of digital publications as well as research and online events.

CloserStill runs the world’s leading workplace learning event brand, Learning Technologies, with three market leading annual events in London, Berlin (with Online Educa) and Paris, a global digital community and the industry’s leading awards programme for corporate learning and development professionals. The London event in February is Europe’s largest annual exhibition and conference for the workplace learning sector attracting more than 8,000 attendees and over 200 exhibitors.

CloserStill’s Learning Group Managing Director, Mark Penton, said, “We are delighted to welcome The eLearning Guild and their impressive event portfolio to our growing global network and are incredibly excited by the huge opportunities this will create. And most importantly, we look forward to enhancing the collaboration between our family of learning brands and their learning communities around the world.”

USA, Santa Rosa, CL & UK, London

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ITE acquires Mining Indaba from Euromoney for £30.1M

ITE Group plcITE Group is to acquire Mining Indaba from Euromoney Institutional Investor plc in a deal worth £30.1 million on a cash-free, debt-free basis. The acquisition includes an initial cash consideration of £20 million to be paid on completion, with a deferred cash consideration of £10.1 million to be paid in June 2019. The acquisition will be funded from a combination of ITE’s existing cash resources and bank borrowing.

Mining Indaba is a leading event dedicated to bringing together mining and investment experts involved in Africa. The exhibition, held in Cape Town, South Africa, was founded in 1995 and marked its 24th edition in February 2018. The next edition is scheduled for 4–7 February 2019. In the year to 28 February 2018, which encompasses the 2018 event, ITE says Mining Indaba generated sales of £7.2 million (US$9.36 million) and EBITDA of £3.7 million. As at 28 February 2018, Mining Indaba reported gross assets, excluding cash, of £600,000.

ITE chief executive officer Mark Shashoua said, “We are delighted to be able to add Mining Indaba, another well-regarded must-attend event, to our portfolio. This acquisition is consistent with our stated strategy of making disciplined and value-enhancing acquisitions of market-leading events and Mining Indaba is also highly complementary to our AOW exhibition. We believe the acquisition will deliver value for our shareholders and consolidate our position as an organiser of must-attend international industry events.”

UK, London

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Emerald Expositions acquires Total Tech Summit for US$28M

Emerald ExpositionsUS event producer Emerald Expositions has announced the acquisition of leading technology event Total Tech Summit and a group of complementary technology intelligence brands from EH Media for approximately $28 million in cash.

The acquired brands have delivered impressive organic growth in recent years, driven by increases in digital revenues, now representing approximately half of total revenues, as well as solid event revenue growth. These brands are strategically aligned with Emerald’s CEDIA Expo and Connecting Point Marketing Group (CPMG) businesses, and include:

Total Tech Summit: a premier hosted-buyer event serving the residential, commercial and security integrator markets;

CEPro: a leading media brand for custom technology integrators in the residential market and the media partner of Emerald’s CEDIA Expo trade show;

Commercial Integrator: a top information source for commercial technology integrators serving small and midsize businesses;

Security Sales & Integration: a leading media brand for residential and commercial security installation contractors; and

Campus Safety: a leading media brand serving security professionals responsible for schools and academic campuses with several events and intelligence products.

David Loechner, Emerald’s president and CEO, commented, “We are thrilled to welcome the EH Media team and their highly valuable brands and assets to Emerald. Ken Moyes has built an impressive group of interconnected, technology-oriented brands that are focused on the integration of audio, video, communications, IT, security and energy management products into buildings of all types. We see a tremendous opportunity to deliver continued strong organic growth in these businesses while also achieving synergies as we integrate these brands and assets into Emerald. We believe that this acquisition, once fully integrated, will not only strengthen our existing trade shows but also expand both their relevance and growth profile in several of our key end markets.”

USA, San Juan Capistrano, CA & Framingham, MA

Immediate Media acquires BBC Good Food

Immediate MediaImmediate Media Co is to acquire BBC Good Food, the UK’s biggest food media brand, from BBC Studios. The deal, Immediate’s first acquisition under the ownership of Hubert Burda Media, continues the company’s development as it looks to accelerate its growth through strategic M&A and product development. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Launched in 1989, BBC Good Food has the biggest cross-media reach of any UK magazine brand. bbcgoodfood.com is the UK’s largest food website, with 22 million visitors globally a month; BBC Good Food magazine, is the best-selling food magazine in the UK, with 1.3 million monthly readers; whilst the BBC Good Food show live events are the largest and most popular food and drink shows in the UK, with over 250,000 visitors a year.

Immediate Media CEO Tom Bureau said, “We are excited to be acquiring BBC Good Food. Not only is this the biggest brand in food publishing and media, but is absolutely on strategy for Immediate, given our focus on high value special interest communities, and cements our market leadership in the Food sector. We see significant opportunity in growing the brand, which we know well from working closely with BBC Studios. I’m looking forward to welcoming the hugely talented BBC Good Food team to Immediate, and we are committed to continue to produce the world-class content they are known for, whilst developing the brand across all platforms.”

BBC Good Food will form a new food business portfolio for Immediate. Headed up by BBC Good Food’s publishing director, Chris Kerwin, who takes up the role of food managing director, reporting to group managing director, Alison Forrestal.

Under the terms of the deal, the BBC Good Food brand name and the bbcgoodfood.com URL are licensed to Immediate by BBC Studios.

UK, London

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FC Business Intelligence targets growth with LDC investment

LDCMid-market private equity investor LDC has backed the management buyout of global events company FC Business Intelligence. The value of the transaction is undisclosed.

FCBI delivers conference and exhibition events with a focus on providing thought leadership in a diverse range of sectors that are facing both challenges and opportunities from technological and strategic innovation including the energy, insurance, pharmaceuticals transportation and travel sectors. Its offering is designed to help senior business professionals stay at the forefront of change through insight sharing and networking with peers.

The investment will enable FCBI to target further organic growth as it plans to increase the scale of its events and expand into new markets, including Asia. The business will also look to make a number of acquisitions both at home and overseas.FC Business Intelligence

With 130 employees based at its head office in Shoreditch, FCBI operates globally with 65 per cent of the company’s annual turnover of £30 million generated in the US, 20 per cent in continental Europe and 10 per cent in the UK.

LDC is backing FCBI’s existing management team, led by Chief Executive Officer Piers Latimer. The investment marks an exit for its original founders.

The deal was led by investment director David Andrews and investment manager Alex Wilby. David Andrews and Rob Schofield will join the board of the business with Tim Trotter joining as Non-Executive Chairman, bringing significant experience of growing PE-backed people businesses internationally. David Gilbertson, former CEO of EMAP and Informa, also joins as a Non-Executive Director, bringing a wealth of industry experience.

Piers Latimer, Chief Executive Officer of FCBI, said, “We have established a worldwide reputation for developing high-quality strategic events that deliver the insights business leaders need to direct their companies and shape their markets. With demand for our services only set to increase, we’re in a great position to accelerate growth. Bringing on board an experienced and well-connected investment partner in LDC felt right at this juncture and we’re excited to be moving forward with their support”.

David Andrews, investment director at LDC in London, added, “Piers and his management team have overseen a remarkable period of growth for FCBI thanks to their focus on content-rich, delegate-led events that deliver real value to more than 9,000 attendees and 1,400 sponsors and exhibitors each year. The opportunity now is for the management team to strengthen and extend this growth and we’re looking forward to supporting them on this journey.”

UK, London

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Vitesse Media to buy InvestmentNews for $27.1M

Vitesse Media plcDigital media and events company Vitesse Media is to acquire InvestmentNews, a leading source of news, analysis and information to the financial advisory community from its parent, Crain Communications Inc., for approximately $27.1 million. The deal is expected to close mid-August.

As part of the deal, InvestmentNews’ leadership team will remain intact — as will its award-winning editorial, multimedia, audience, custom, research & data, marketing, sales and event divisions.

Crain launched InvestmentNews in 1997 as a weekly magazine covering the U.S. financial advice profession. InvestmentNews has since expanded its engagement with its core audience through the launch of an award-winning website, live events and research and data offerings. Today, InvestmentNews is the No. 1 media brand in the financial advice market, with more than 150,000 weekly print readers. InvestmentNews.com garners an average of 545,000 unique visitors each month. In addition, InvestmentNews operates a growing events business, which includes the Retirement Income Summit, Woman Adviser Summit and Best Practices Workshop. It is also produces editorial and custom research relevant to advisers and the businesses that serve them.

Simon Stilwell, who was appointed CEO of Vitesse in August 2017, said, “InvestmentNews is the leading brand in its community, it fits well into the Vitesse stable and provides the company with the opportunity to pursue other bolt on opportunities to expand, especially in its events and data business. Its American presence further allows us to expand our reach geographically, a key aspect of our future strategy.”

Upon completion of the deal, Vitesse will change its name to Bonhill Group plc, subject to shareholders’ approval.

UK, London & USA, New York, NY

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Mark Allen Group to acquire Rhinehold Group Assets

Mark Allen GroupThe Mark Allen Group has won the bid to acquire all the assets in the Rhinegold Group. These assets include the International Piano, Choir & Organ, Classical Music, Teaching Drama, and Music Teacher publications. Rhinegold also publishes Opera Now. Through its events arm it owns and organises Music & Drama Education Expos in London and Manchester. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The Rhinegold assets will add significantly to MAG’s strong position in music publishing, whose current portfolio includes the world’s leading classical music brand, Gramophone, as well as the premier magazines in their respective fields, Jazzwise and Songlines.

The parties are now entering into due diligence with the aim to complete the sale in October, after which the Rhinegold staff will be relocated from central London to MAG’s offices at St Jude’s Church in Herne Hill.

The origins of Rhinegold go back to 1977 with the launch of what is now Classical Music and the acquisition of Music Teacher. Since then the company has grown by acquisition and launch. Five years ago the first Music Education Expo was launched in London.

Mark Allen, the chairman of MAG, said, “I have been stalking Rhinegold for the past three years and I am delighted to say that my hope in acquiring these excellent assets looks like being realised. During this time, I have got to know, like and respect the current owner, Derek Smith, as well as several of the staff. There is a great deal of synergy with our own brands.”

Chief executive officer, Ben Allen added, “It is less than six years ago that we decided to enter the music market with our purchase of Jazzwise. This is a market in which we have done well and Rhinegold provides a golden opportunity for us to extend and enhance our dominant position. With increased leisure time likely to be a factor, music will loom even larger in people’s lives and we intend to be at the forefront of these trends.”

UK, London

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