Questex Sold to PE Firm MidOcean Partners; Paul Miller Named CEO
It's a Penton reunion at Questex.
Editor’s note: This article was updated on Monday, Sept. 17 to include Kate Spellman’s appointment as Questex CMO.
Questex, the Newton, Mass.-based publisher and trade show producer serving the travel-hospitality and technology spaces, among others, has been acquired by private equity firm MidOcean Partners from Shamrock Capital, which had owned the company since 2014. Financial terms were not disclosed.
As part of the sale, Kerry Gumas—who has led Questex as chairman and CEO since founding the company in 2005—will move to an advisory role focused on strategic initiatives and M&A after a transitional period, according to an announcement.
Gumas will be succeeded by incoming CEO Paul Miller, who arrives from Informa, where he had been president of the industry and infrastructure group since Informa’s acquisition of Penton two years ago.
Prior to Penton, where he was also a group president, Miller brings experience from UBM, where he served as CEO of UBM Electronics and UBM Canon, and later the UBM Technology group. (Like Penton, UBM is now owned by Informa, which claims it’s still on the lookout for events-focused acquisitions in the b2b space.)
Joining Miller on the new leadership team is David Kieselstein, the former Penton CEO who joined MidOcean as executive board chairman in January 2018. Keiselstein will serve as chairman of the Questex board of directors.
“As opposed to narrowcast events-only businesses, MidOcean believes in the value of surrounding a market with integrated event and media assets,” said Kieselstein in a statement.
Also joining the Questex team is CMO Kate Spellman, the former Penton CMO and UBM exec who spent the better part of the last two years as president of Informa Engage, which absorbed Penton’s marketing services division after the merger. Spellman’s is a newly created role at Questex, which says investing in its marketing services capabilities will be a priority going forward.
It’s a reunion of sorts in more ways than one; MidOcean previously held a 50-percent stake in Penton for nearly a decade, acquiring it in Febuary 2007 and selling it to Informa as part of a $1.56 billion acquisition in September 2016.
“It has been a great privilege to lead Questex as CEO from its founding through its growth and transformation into a dynamic B2B information services company,” added Gumas in a statement. “I look forward to handing over the baton of daily leadership in the coming weeks to my long-time colleague in the industry, Paul Miller.”
Questex operates a little over a dozen print and digital media brands—including several that it acquired through its purchase of FierceMarkets a decade ago—and claims to produce some 125 trade shows, conferences, and other events around the world.