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Holiday Blockbuster: Emerald Expositions to Acquire GLM in $335 Million Deal


San Juan Capistrano, CA – Emerald Expositions agreed in late December to acquire George Little Management (GLM) from its equity owners in a deal valued at $335 million. The deal adds GLM’s New York-centered portfolio of more than 20 exhibitions to the former Nielsen Expositions roster of more than 65 trade shows and conferences.

The two companies have been serving similar retail sectors, particularly in the gift and outdoor sports areas. That proximity had the two companies enthused about their prospects down the road.

“GLM is an outstanding trade show operator with a first class, talented team operating in multiple locations where we presently do not have offices,” said David Loechner, Emerald CEO. Loechner told Trade Show Executive (TSE) that GLM’s customers and its approximately 130 employees would likely not notice many immediate changes in their events. “We have no plans to consolidate except in cases where it makes business sense,” Loechner said. “Instead, we are looking at ways of bringing the two organizations together to broaden the strengths and diversification of both organizations, and to leverage our buying power such as with hotel pricing.”

GLM was sold by Providence Equity Partners, which acquired the company in 2011 and placed veteran show organizer Charles McCurdy in charge as chairman and CEO. McCurdy will depart GLM when the sale closes and Loechner will continue as CEO of the combined companies. Emerald was acquired by an equity group, Onex Partners III, earlier this year.

McCurdy carried out a program of streamlining and rebranding some of GLM’s venerable events, including the New York International Gift Fair, which was re-christened NY NOW. Both the August and January editions of NY Now as well as the semi-annual Surf Expos were honored in the most recent TSE Gold 100 rankings. Emerald placed seven of its shows on the Gold 100, including the two yearly editions of Outdoor Retailer and ASD Las Vegas.

“I am excited about the opportunities for customers and employees of both companies that will result from bringing these two high-quality portfolios together,” said Loechner.

“This transaction demonstrates the strength of GLM’s shows, which have grown successfully thanks to the effectiveness of the GLM team and Providence’s support,” said McCurdy. “This is a compelling opportunity going forward for GLM and its stakeholders.”

McCurdy told TSE the relatively quick sale of GLM was based in part on the fact GLM was already a solid performer in the trade show industry. “When we bought GLM just two years ago, it was a really strong company with good growth prospects,” he said.

The relatively solid footing GLM was on two years ago allowed McCurdy and his team to give a higher priority to expansion of the company’s technology infrastructure and the launch of new events such as the Internet Retailer Conference. Emerald will in turn be able to focus on building bigger marketplaces rather than patching up a leaking ship.

“We went into this with a business development and growth plan that had a five-year horizon,” McCurdy said. “A lot of that is still down the road.”

What lies down the road for McCurdy was an unknown as the year wound down. “There is always something new coming up in our business,” he said. “I am looking forward to my next project.”

Reach David Loechner at (949) 226-5700 or; Charles McCurdy at (914) 421-3200 or

TSE Snapshot:  Market-Leading Shows of Emerald and GLM

Emerald Expositions  (formerly Nielsen Expositions) – TSE Gold 100 Shows:

  • ASD Las Vegas – August (2012 show #17)
  • ASD Las Vegas – March (2012 show #18)
  • Outdoor Retailer Summer Market (2012 show #31)
  • Outdoor Retailer Winter Market (2012 show #41)
  • Interbike (2012 show #52)
  • Hospitality Design Expo & Conference (2012 show #71)
  • KBIS – Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (2012 show #75)

GLM – TSE Gold 100 Shows:

  • New York International Gift Fair® – August (now NY NOW®) (2012 show #24)
  • New York International Gift Fair® – January (now NY NOW®) (2012 show #26)
  • Surf Expo – January (2012 show #79)
  • Surf Expo – September (2012 show #90)

Emerald Expositions (formerly Nielsen Expositions) – TSE Fastest 50 Shows (2012 shows):

  • GlobalShop
  • Hospitality Design Expo & Conference
  • Interbike
  • Outdoor Retailer Summer Market

GLM – TSE Fastest 50 Shows (2012 shows):

  • Surf Expo – January

TSE Data Center