UBM Expands Fashion Events Business with BJI Acquisition
The $69 million purchase advances the company's "events first" business strategy.
UBM continues to grow its events business.
The global B2B marketing services and live events firm announced today its acquisition of Business Journals, Inc. (BJI), the Connecticut-based fashion publisher that produces a number of trade shows across the U.S., for $69 million in cash.
BJI publishes a quartet of print and digital magazines—Accessories, MR, Accent, and Forum—but at least 80 percent of the company's $40–$47 million in 2015 revenue came from its live events business, according to UBM, which made it an attractive acquisition given UBM's explicit "events first" business strategy, adopted sometime around late 2014.
BJI's portfolio of fashion trade shows in New York and Las Vegas, some of which coincide with events produced by UBM's Fashion Group, includes AccessoriesTheShow, EDIT, FAME, Moda, MRket, and Stitch.
It's the first major North American acquisition by UBM since Scott Schulman was named CEO of UBM Americas, effective immediately, earlier this month. Joining the company after departing Rodale last fall, Schulman's been tasked with further implementing that "events first" strategy and advancing what he called "America's largest B2B exhibitions business."
The shift in focus first got rolling in October 2014 with UBM's $972 million acquisition of Advanstar, including the biannual MAGIC fashion trade show in Las Vegas. By mid-2015, events were driving nearly two-thirds of UBM's revenue. Then, last December, the company sold PR Newswire to Cision for $841 million.
On the BJI acquisition, UBM CEO Tom Cobbold wrote in a statement, "This transaction is very much in line with our 'events first' business strategy. It adds to our presence in North America and also in the fashion sector, both of which were already strong following UBM's acquisition of Advanstar at the end of 2014."