Tradeshow M&A brokerage firm Corporate Solutions released a mid-year update on event-related acquisition activity and the numbers are trending up. In all, the firm counts 17 transactions for the half, which almost matches the number of deals in all of 2014.
Some of the transactions that Corporate Solutions counts in its totals included other assets besides live events—ALM's acquisition of Summit Professional Networks, for example, or Stagnito's purchase of Fulcrum Media.
Nevertheless, buyers still consider events as core to the portfolio. In fact, sellers capitalized on the increased interest in some surprising deals.
Late last year, Hanley Wood sold its exhibitions business for $375 million to Informa. Informa showed up again this year in May when it acquired Dwell's flagship event Dwell on Design. 1105 Media unloaded its education group events to LRP Publications in June.
Corporates Solutions expects the volume of deals to double by the end of the year, with an estimated 15-20 more expected to close in the next five months.
Accordingly, multiples are on the rise, says the firm. Large tradeshows are getting 7-8 times EBITDA. Consumer shows are lower, at 4-5 times.
In another first-half analysis provided by The Jordan, Edmiston Group, the exhibitions & conferences category outperformed the other six categories the investment advisory firm tracks. Deal volume rose 40 percent—JEGI tracked 42 deals for the half—and value jumped 760 percent, thanks largely to the $1.2 billion Cirque du Soleil deal.