Informa to Acquire Penton in a $1.56 Billion Deal

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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London, England – Britain’s Informa will acquire US-based Penton from its private equity owners MidOcean Partners and Wasserstein & Co. in a deal worth $1.56 Billion. The transaction, which is subject to approval by Informa shareholders and customary regulatory and closing conditions, is expected to close in the Fourth Quarter of 2016.

The acquisition of Penton is the second blockbuster move Informa made in the US trade show industry recently. The first was its 2014 acquisition of Hanley Wood Exhibitions.

Penton’s 30 events and 20 digital subscription brands were seen as “commercially and financially compelling.” Under the ownership of MidOcean and Wasserstein, Penton was rapidly transformed from predominantly a print business into a leading professional information services company. Penton completed 13 acquisitions in growth-oriented sectors such as agriculture, transportation, natural products/food, infrastructure, and industrial design/manufacturing.

Four of those acquisitions were made in the past two years, including World Tea Media. Its calendar includes the pending November launch of IoT Emerge at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

“We are very pleased by the transformation we have helped Penton achieve,” said Anup Bagaria, Co-Managing Partner of Wasserstein and Co-Chairman of Penton, and Michael Struble, Partner of Wasserstein and Director of Penton. “The management team has done an excellent job establishing scaled, leadership positions in Penton’s core verticals. Through continuous improvement of its core offerings, new product launches and strategic M&A, Penton has grown impressively in recent years and positioned itself to accelerate growth in the years to come.”

Barrett Gilmer, Managing Director of MidOcean and Co-Chairman of Penton, said, “We are incredibly proud of our partnership with Penton and the company’s success under CEO David Kieselstein.” He said that under David’s leadership, in particular over the last four years, Penton achieved a dramatic shift in its business mix, completed a number of highly strategic acquisitions, and nearly doubled EBITDA from $77 million to $140 million. “The entire Penton team played a role in this transformation and we wish them continued success as part of the Informa team,” he said.

Kieselstein had equally strong praise for the investment team. “MidOcean and Wasserstein are seasoned, hands-on investors and have been invaluable partners in supporting Penton and allowing us to execute on our strategy,” he said. “Their strategic insight, resources, flexibility and experience in the media services sector have been essential to our transformation by enabling our organic growth through new investment initiatives and sourcing and coordinating multiple accretive acquisitions.”

Informa has a market value of about 4.5 Billion pounds and produces 180 trade shows worldwide. Two of its US shows – World of Concrete and The International Surfaces Event – will be honored next week by Trade Show Executive at the TSE Gold 100 Awards and Summit in Carlsbad. Penton also has two trade shows in the rankings as well: WasteExpo and Natural Products Expo West/Engredea, which is organized by its New Hope Network division.

As of April 1, the lion’s share of Penton’s revenues came from events, which generated 55% of the top line, followed by digital at 35% and print at 10%.

Informa has made no secret of its intention to expand its exhibitions business, particularly in the US market. The London-based multi-national corporation produces 180 exhibitions annually, which accounted for 30% of the company’s total revenues in the first half of this year.

“Our strategy to internationalize and scale global exhibitions continues to reap benefits, leading to another period of double-digit organic growth and confirming our position as the third largest commercial organizer globally,” Informa said in its First Half earnings report.

The consideration will consist of $1.46 Billion of cash (plus adjustments) and $100 million of Informa stock.

Informa is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a member of the FTSE 100.

Reach Charles McCurdy, CEO of Informa’s Global Exhibitions Division, at +44 (0) 20 7017 5000 or charlie.mccurdy@informa.com; Penton CEO David Kieselstein at (212) 204-4200 or david.kieselstein@penton.com