Property: George Little Management
Buyer: Providence Equity Partners
Seller: Daily Mail and General Trust
Date: August 2011
Price: $173 million

If the Hearst/Hachette deal was the blockbuster of the year in the magazine publishing market, then Providence Equity’s purchase of the GLM stable of shows from the British Daily Mail and General Trust was its event-market equivalent. At $173 million, the acquisition was, by far, the biggest event deal in a year that saw very few transactions in that market.

GLM produces 15 trade shows in industries ranging from giftware, home furnishings and social stationary to art and design, antique jewelry and board sports, among others. Events include the New York International Gift Fair, Surf Expo and the International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Show.

Providence Private Equity purchased GLM through a new holding company led by former Canon Communications CEO Charlie McCurdy. In 2010, United Business Media bought Canon for $287 million (primarily for Canon’s 40 tradeshows, which generated nearly half of Canon’s $106 million in revenue in fiscal 2010).

McCurdy plans to extend the event model into other areas where the company can provide further services to its community of buyers and sellers. “We’re looking at the role GLM’s shows have in their markets and looking for ways we can expand and enhance those services,” said McCurdy when the deal was announced. “They’ve already started to provide online resources for participants in the market place and perhaps content-based digital media activities to better inform the market. [We’ll be] using digital media and data services to enhance the role of GLM and its markets. It’s something we intend to build upon.”

The GLM deal was a shot in the arm for an event industry that was coming off of a very dry M&A period.