Loggia sees UBM-Advanstar Deal as the Proverbial ‘Win Win’

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Santa Monica, CA – The acquisition of Advanstar Communications Inc. by rival trade show organizer UBM plc will be a home run for both companies, according to Joe Loggia, who will stay on as CEO of Advanstar during the upcoming transition period.

UBM announced at its London headquarters on October 1 that it was acquiring Advanstar in a cash deal that will cost UBM nearly $1 billion, but will also move it into position as the top show organizer in the U.S. based on 2013 revenues.

“UBM is a great fit and it is going to be a great home for Advanstar,” Loggia told Trade Show Executive (TSE).

Loggia said he would likely remain at Advanstar through 2015 and would then see what the landscape looks like before deciding his next move. He added that the coming year and beyond would also be good for everyone else at Advanstar. “It’s good for our staff and it’s going to be good for the entire trade show industry,” he said.

The $972 million acquisition, which will close before the end of the year, teams UBM, which has been in an expansive mode in Asia and other emerging markets, with Advanstar and its solid base in the U.S. market. UBM CEO Tim Cobbold said in a statement that Advanstar’s portfolio of 54 shows would provide new balance and “geographic diversity” for UBM. “It strengthens UBM’s core events business while balancing and complementing UBM’s strong events portfolio in emerging markets,” he said.

Much of the industry’s focus in recent years has been on the emerging markets of Asia and other distant areas of the world that were underserved compared to the more-mature U.S. market. UBM was an enthusiastic and aggressive leader of the international push.

But Loggia said that the U.S. is still a very solid territory that should not be overlooked even as the stubborn recession fades. “The U.S. market looks good,” he said. “The U.S. economy is a good place to be in right now, and trade shows are still the most efficient way for businesses to reach their customers.”

The recession hit just a few years after Advanstar sold off a large chunk of assets to the group that formed Questex Media in 2005. In 2007, Advanstar was acquired by its current private-equity ownership.

Since then, Loggia and his team built up its U.S. events. The semi-annual MAGIC Market, the retail fashion exhibition in Las Vegas, became entrenched in the top 10 of the TSE Gold 100 rankings of largest U.S. trade shows.

Loggia told TSE that Advanstar pondered overseas expansion at times, but decided to stick close to home. “We didn’t have a strategic platform overseas, so we focused on domestic growth,” he said.

“A lot of our competition at the time was focused on emerging markets, but the U.S. has recovered nicely,” Loggia said.

MAGIC and Advanstar’s New York fashion events will be a key to the success of the acquisition. UBM will add the high-profile shows to its own fashion portfolio centered in Asia. Loggia said word of the blockbuster deal was getting around the fashion industry and the reaction was so far “all positive.”

“Positive” was a word Loggia used for the entire transaction, which will make the team of UBM and Advanstar a true slugger on the trade show diamond.

Reach Joe Loggia at (310) 857-7500 or jloggia@advanstar.com