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Emerald Exposition Seeks Green Light for Stock IPO

Hil Anderson
, Senior Editor
April 3, 2017
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San Juan Capistrano, Calif. – Emerald Expositions took the first step toward an initial public offering (IPO) of shares on the New York Stock Exchange by filing an application with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The Form S-1 was filed with the SEC on Friday, March 31 with no announcement from either Emerald or its equity owners, Onex Corp., which had earlier this year reportedly put Emerald up for sale earlier this year.

Emerald had no immediate comment on the eventual value of the shares or when they would begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange using the symbol EEX.

The filings indicated that Onex would continue to own the majority of the common stock, even after giving shares to the selling stockholders. “As a result, we expect to be a ‘controlled company’ within the meaning of the corporate governance standards of the New York Stock Exchange,” the paperwork stated.

The filing further stated that Emerald plans on using the IPO net proceeds to first pay off remaining debt. “The principal purposes of this offering are to reduce our financial leverage, increase our capitalization and financial flexibility, create a public market for our common stock and enable access to the public equity markets for us and our stockholders,” it said. “We intend to use the net proceeds to us from this offering to repay (unspecified dollar amount) of borrowings outstanding under the Term Loan Facility with the balance, if any, for working capital and other general corporate purposes.”

Onex said in its 2016 earnings report that Emerald reported earnings of $323 million for the year, a 5% increase over 2015, due largely to organic growth and acquisitions.

The projected outcome of the IPO points to a potential tectonic shift for the U.S. trade show industry. Emerald is the largest U.S.-controlled exhibitions organizer in a period that has seen aggressive pushes into North America by major European organizers, such as UBM, Informa and the already established Reed Exhibitions.

Emerald itself has been in an expansionist mode in recent years. In the last six months, Emerald acquired Digital Dealer Conference & Expo; National Pavement Expo; RFID Journal LIVE!; International Drone Conference and Exposition; and the CEDIA trade show.

Emerald was the leading show management company on the latest Trade Show Executive Gold 100 with a dozen of the largest trade shows in North America. And three Emerald shows were on the latest TSE Fastest 50.

Reach Chief Financial Officer Philip Evans at (949) 226-5700 or phillip.evans@emeraldexpo.com

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