Is the Rest of Advanstar Up for Sale?

DARLENE GUDEA, PUBLISHER & EDITOR
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Woodland Hills, CA – Advanstar made headlines on April 4th, and again on May 23rd,  when it announced an agreement and then the subsequent sale of  five key divisions — 25% of the company — to Questex Media Group for $185 million in cash.  But Advanstar created an even bigger buzz this week when the New York Post broke a story on Sunday, July 3rd  that Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB)  “decided to put Advanstar’s remaining units up for auction.”  The remaining sectors include Fashion, Life Sciences and Powersports, all of which generated approximately $275 million in revenue for Advanstar in 2004.

Some industry observers expressed surprise at the timing of a selloff. So is it true? Joe Loggia, President and CEO of Advanstar told Trade Show Executive, “The progress we have made in executing our market-focused strategy, including the Questex transaction and the expansion of our businesses in our key markets has exceeded our expectations. The combination of our improved financial performance, strong growth prospects and an active M&A market, have resulted in increased interest in Advanstar within the investment community.”

Loggia would not comment on possible suitors but industry speculation is that  interest has been expressed by Bob Krakoff, former Advanstar Chairman and CEO,   who is backed by The Blackstone Group; also Abry Partners; Warburg Pincus;  and Apprise Media. CSFB is expected to handle the transaction, not an outside broker, according to industry sources.

In other news, Advanstar acquired the Michigan Motorcycle Show and Motorama events from TBJ productions.  TBJ is  the event organizing division of Boco Enterprises, which owns and operates the Rock Financial Showplace and the Novi Expo Center in Novi, MI.Advanstar will combine the Detroit leg of its Cycle World International Motorcycle Shows® with the two events starting in January 2006.

Reach Joe Loggia at (818) 593-5000 or jloggia@advanstar.com

Trade Show Executive will continue to update this news with further developments….