Trade Show M&A in 2010 Lower than Previous Year but Looking Up for 2011

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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New York – The pace of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the exhibition industry remained slow in 2010, with the number and value of deals falling below those of 2009 when the recession was in full force.

The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc. (JEGI) said in its summary of the 2010 M&A market that the number of deals in the exhibitions and conferences sector for the year totaled 23, down (34)% from 35 in 2009. The total value of the 2010 transactions was $129 million, (22)% less than the previous year.

Only a few of the transactions could be considered major, JEGI said. And United Business Media (UBM) was the most active show organizing company, booking two deals in the Fourth Quarter of 2010. They acquired Publishing Expo in Great Britain, and a 65% stake in Rotaforte International Trade Fairs & Media, which organizes jewelry shows in Turkey. UBM was also responsible for the blockbuster acquisition of Canon Communications in October for $287 million.

In another Fourth Quarter deal, Reed Elsevier acquired China Golf Show, an equipment and accessories exhibition held at the China National Convention Center in Beijing.

Show organizers had predicted at the onset of the recession in 2008 that overall M&A activity would be conservative and primarily strategic in nature. Caution appeared to be the theme for 2010 as well. JEGI said uncertainty over the prospects for the economy continued. The banking industry remained hesitant about lending, particularly for smaller deals involving companies with less than $20 million EBITDA.

The overall M&A market could pick up speed in 2011, JEGI’s report predicted, as corporations dip into some of the cash they held in reserve during the downturn in order to improve their liquidity and expand through acquisitions.

Reach Richard Meade, managing director of JEGI, at (212) 754-0710 or richardm@jegi.com