Emerald Expositions Buys Shows, Magazines
Company bets on the benefits of a trade show-and-magazine model in B2B.
Emerald Expositions was bought for close to a billion dollars in the summer of 2013, and just six months later, the company made a big splash by acquiring GLM for more than $300 million. It’s stayed quiet until now though.
The company made two separate strategic acquisitions last week, headlined by the Healthcare Design Conference and Expo, the International Pizza Expo and each show’s associated magazines. Terms weren’t disclosed.
The Healthcare Design unit, purchased from Vendome Group, includes a 4,000-attendee conference and trade show and a 30,000-circulation monthly magazine, along with several other smaller properties. The International Pizza Expo, a 7,000-attendee, 450-exhibitor trade show, and Pizza Today, a 41,000-circulation magazine, were bought from Macfadden Communications.
The former group will fit nicely into Emerald’s existing design portfolio—about a dozen trade shows and publications—with occasional overlap of user and advertiser bases. While some central services will change under the new management, leadership and customer-facing operations won’t be impacted, says David Loechner, CEO of Emerald Expositions.
He adds that the company will continue to look at acquisitions as a means for accelerating growth, actively on the lookout for more businesses that fit its model.
“We look for any acquisition that fits our model. And that means it’s No. 1 in its space, it is of high quality and it can be brought into our portfolio and we can add value to what they’re doing,” he says. “We’ll either fund them out of our own cash or from private equity, which has no limited supply of capital for the right types of investment.”
Having a content component—like shows involved in last week’s deals—isn’t a prerequisite for purchase, but it’s a valuable add-on, Loechner says. Right now, about 15 percent of Emerald’s 80-plus events have a magazine or other publication tied to them.
“It’s important for us to have regular connectivity with the client base, which is tough to do with an annual trade show,” he says. “The magazines in our portfolio are all very closely tied to a trade show position we have. It’s a benefit to have a successful print publication in a given market, but not all markets support print publishing. We have a number of trade shows in markets where there isn’t a print component in the entire industry.”