Global B2B events firm Informa is nearing an acquisition of rival UBM in a proposed megadeal worth as much as $5 billion.
“It is clear that the B2B Market is moving to Operating Scale and Industry Specialization,” said Informa CEO Stephen Carter in a statement. “The Combined Group will have the reach and market capabilities to take full advantage of these trends.”
A proposed deal, revealed jointly by the two companies early Wednesday morning, would see Informa chairman Derek Mapp take over as chairman of the combined company, with Stephen Carter as its new CEO.
The new group’s board of directors would consist of seven non-exec directors from Informa and three from UBM, and the combined company would be 65.5 percent owned by Informa shareholders, and 34.5 percent by UBM shareholders. In exchange for each UBM share, UBM stockholders would receive 1.083 Informa shares and £1.63 ($2.26).
The deal would represent a staggering consolidation in the B2B events and publishing industry on both sides of the Atlantic. It comes on the heels of Informa’s $1.5 billion acquisition of Penton just over a year ago, and caps a string of event-focused acquisitions made by both companies over the past four years.
UBM has been particularly aggressive in pursuing an “events-first” strategy outlined by CEO Tom Cobbold in 2014, and the company’s conference and exhibition business now drives the vast majority of its revenues. Similarly, since 2013 and following major event acquisitions from Hanley Wood and Dwell, among others, Informa has more than tripled the revenue in its exhibitions division, which now drives more than one-third of the company’s overall revenue.
An Informa spokeswoman, however, cautions that the “discussions are still ongoing and therefore the combination of Informa and UBM is still a proposed one only.”
This is a developing story.