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UBM Sews Up Top Spot in Fashion Exhibitions by Acquiring Business Journals Inc.

Hil Anderson
, Senior Editor
April 22, 2016
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New York, NY – UBM topped Trade Show Executive’s list of “Companies to Watch” in 2016 (See April issue, pages 56 to 72) and it wasted no time by announcing today the acquisition of Business Journals Inc. for $69 million.

The deal announced April 22 added the BJI Fashion Group portfolio of fashion events to UBM’s already strong roster of apparel shows led by the MAGIC brand. BJI organizes marquee properties such as Accessories The Show, FAME, Moda, Stitch, and MRKet, and publishes related trade magazines including MR and Accessories.  Through this acquisition, UBM will expand its US fashion event portfolio, adding BJI’s brands to its MAGIC, PROJECT, Coterie, FN Platform, and other fashion events.

UBM said that cornering the fashion market would allow it to streamline the combined companies’ various shows, making it easier on exhibitors and attendees. “Adding BJI allows us to be more responsive to our customers as we work to coordinate venues and dates, and organize show floors to make the process easier and more valuable for exhibitors and retailers,” said Scott Schulman, who was named CEO of UBM Americas in March. “Moreover, as part of UBM, BJI becomes part of a global company that can help its customers expand internationally.”

Officials of UBM travelled to Connecticut on April 22 to brief BJI employees on the deal, which makes UBM the leader in retail apparel exhibitions in New York, Las Vegas and worldwide.

“The complementary nature of our portfolios and teams will undoubtedly create opportunities for growth and a better overall experience for our brands and retailers,” said BJI President & CEO Britton Jones. “I am excited by this union and confident that together we will craft the future of events for the fashion industry.”

Details on the future status of Jones and the rest of BJI’s staff were not immediately revealed. BJI has a portfolio of 27 events, most of them held in New York, plus various print and online content platforms and a large database of fashion retailers. UBM said BJI’s 2015 revenues were around $40 million. The company was represented in the sale by JEGI.

UBM, which has more than 5,000 employees worldwide and produces more than 400 events in various sectors annually, has been in an acquisitive mode in the U.S. market for the past few years. Its blockbuster move was the acquisition of MAGIC organizer Advanstar Communications for $972 million in 2014. MAGIC, which takes place twice per year in Las Vegas, is among the largest trade shows in the US and a flagship event for the apparel industry. In addition to its sheer size, MAGIC has also been growing rapidly over the years and is a consistent member of the Trade Show Executive Fastest 50 rankings of fastest-growing exhibitions.

At the same time, BJI has been keeping pace with a collection of smaller but thriving shows. The latest Fastest 50 included three BJI Shows: MRKet and the two biennial STITCH events. MAGIC-August was ranked seventh on the latest TSE Gold 100 with 1,023,560 nsf in 2014. MAGIC-February was in the eighth spot with 954,473 nsf. The 2015 edition of MAGIC-February made it to the Fastest 50 with a 28.1% increase in exhibitors.

Fashion Week Las Vegas revolves around the August edition of MAGIC, but also includes various BJI shows. MAGIC also has a format of multiple specialty shows under one roof that is expected to make the integration of the two companies less complicated.

“Having the greatest possible selection of brands brought together in one place makes every retailer’s life easier and helps the wholesale buying process,” said MAGIC veteran Chris DeMoulin, Managing Director of Fashion for UBM Americas. “We are really excited about the expanded possibilities for helping retail buyers be more efficient and bringing exhibitors an even greater number of retailers.”

Reach Scott Schulman at (212) 951-6600 or sschulman@ubm.com; Britton Jones at (203) 853-6015 or brittonj@busjour.com; Chris DeMoulin at (310) 857-7500 or cdemoulin@advanstar.com

           

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