Acquisition Roundup: Bobit Business Media, Messe Frankfurt, Exhibit Systems and High Times All Make Deals

December 16, 2018

The trade show industry mergers and acquisitions market shows no signs of slowing down any time soon, as several more deals were made in just the past month.

Gemspring Capital, a middle-market private equity firm, is pleased to announce an affiliate has acquired the assets of Bobit Business Media, which includes shows such as BusCon, the International Car Rental Show and the Government Fleet Conference & Expo.

Founded by Ed Bobit in 1961 and family-owned and operated since inception, Bobit provides a suite of digital media and marketing solutions, events and print media.

The company focuses on niche verticals– fleet, transportation, beauty and law enforcement – serving a large customer base of more than 1,700 B2B marketers.

By leveraging its deep and entrenched audience, proprietary database and strong editorial capabilities, Bobit delivers highly targeted marketing solutions to each of its customers.

Concurrent with the closing, Richard Rivera will join Bobit as its new CEO; Sherb Brown will be the newly appointed president and chief revenue officer; and Cyndy Drummey, current COO will continue as key members of the management team.

“I, along with my team at Bobit, am excited to partner with Gemspring and Richard. Their deep knowledge of the B2B media landscape, as well as focus on digital media products, was unique and well-suited to Bobit,” Ty Bobit said.

He added, “Further, it was evident both Gemspring and Richard truly valued our content, industry leadership and market positioning. I am confident that with their support, we will continue our strong history of growth and providing tremendous value to our customers.”

Richard said: “I am excited to partner with Gemspring in stewarding Bobit’s continued success. The Bobit family and team have built a company focused on providing unique and superior value to its customers and audience. We will continue to carry that purpose and mission forward.”

Messe Frankfurt has finalized a deal with the Clean Show Executive Committee (CEC) to purchase the largest trade fair for textile care in the Western Hemisphere.

The Clean Show is held every two years rotating throughout the US. As a part of the acquisition, the five industry associations that are involved in the sale will maintain their close involvement and Messe Frankfurt aims to continue the Clean Show success story in the future.

The Clean Show attracted more than 11,000 trade visitors and 481 exhibitors to Las Vegas in 2017. 

The first edition as a part of the Messe Frankfurt portfolio of textile-care fairs will be held in New Orleans from 20 to 23 June 2019. Future events are planned for Atlanta and Orlando in 2021 and 2023 respectively.

Messe Frankfurt will organise the Clean Show in cooperation with the former owners, five US trade associations that include:

  • Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (DLI),
  • TRSA, the Association for Linen, Uniform and Facility Services (TRSA)
  • Coin Laundry Association (CLA),
  • Association for Linen Management (ALM),
  • Textile Care Allied Trades Association (TCATA).

Joseph Ricci, Clean 2019 chairman of the Clean Executive Committee and president of TRSA, said, “Based on its success organizing international events for the textile-care sector, Messe Frankfurt has the expertise and experience, as well as relationships with key exhibiting partners, to ensure the continued growth and development of the Clean Show.

Exhibit Systems, an exhibit and display company offering one-stop service for trade shows and events, has acquired all assets of KMK Industries, a Milwaukee-based firm known for designing and manufacturing quality trade show exhibits.

KMK Industries, led by Ron and Patti Malliet, has provided custom and modular trade show displays for more than 50 years. The existing KMK manufacturing facility will remain operational, with improvements planned to the plant’s infrastructure. The company’s entire talented team will be merged into Exhibit Systems, with more than 45 employees at the new organization.

KMK will operate as KMK Industries, a Division of Exhibit Systems. Its joining also brings an exclusive local partnership with Nimlok Company, with capabilities to manufacture the best in portable displays and customized systems.

“KMK has been well respected in the trade show industry for many years. Its entire team is passionate about the same things we are - creating exceptional face-to-face marketing environments and establishing long-term partnerships with customers,” said Richard Magliocco, president and CEO of Exhibit Systems. “This acquisition continues our growth trajectory by expanding our in-house capacity for producing custom exhibits. We look forward to working with KMK’s customers, and introducing them to additional trade show marketing services through Exhibit Systems.”

High Times, a well-known brand in Cannabis, has entered into an agreement to acquire Buyers Industry Guide, the publication and production company responsible for the canna-conference series ‘the BIG Show’.

This B2B tradeshow, which services the ancillary cannabis community, gathers twice annually in Miami and Los Angeles, attracts over 10,000 industry guests annually.

The latest acquisition will expand on High Times’ impressive event production business, which includes entertainment festivals like the Cannabis Cup, Reggae On The River and industry events like the High Times Business Expo.

“Working with High Times is a dream come true,” said Gustavo Gonzalez, the sole proprietor of Buyers Industry Guide.

He added, “I grew up reading their publication, and after meeting Adam and learning about his plans, I couldn’t imagine a more perfect marriage. High Times is rapidly evolving, pivoting away from solely focusing on media, into a true technology and services business. Receiving this kind of approval from these kingmakers reaffirms my belief that we’re on the right path, and doubles down on our belief that these types of events are not only beneficial, but necessary for the growth of this industry!”

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Partner Voices
Dallas already boasts 35,000 hotel rooms, award-winning global cuisine, and a walkable downtown. But we are just getting started. Visit Dallas is thrilled to announce that the city of Dallas is doubling down with a massive new convention center and entertainment district. Featuring 800,000 square feet of exhibit area, 260,000 square feet of meeting rooms, and 170,000 square feet of ballroom. The center will connect business travelers with dining and shopping options in the popular Cedars District means more places to get down to business, and even more ways to unwind. “Dallas is already a great meetings and conventions destination, with the accessibility of two major airports, affordable labor, and an outstanding hotel product,” said D. Bradley Kent, Visit Dallas senior vice president and chief sales officer. “The new center and Convention Center District will enhance Dallas’ competitive position and are exactly what our customers’ need and have been asking for." What’s New – AT&T Discovery District Located in the heart of Downtown Dallas, this new district on the AT&T corporate campus is tailor-made for groups of all sizes. It boasts a multi-sensory experience, including outdoor event space, the AT&T Theater, and multiple dining outlets including JAXON Beer Garden and The Exchange, a bustling food hall. Hotels Coming Soon Names like the JW Marriott (Downtown), lnterContinental Dallas (Uptown), and Hotel Swexan (Uptown) are adding luxury amenities and bountiful event spaces. The projects will debut in 2023 and beyond. JW Marriott This new, 15-story, 283-room hotel will open in the heart of the city’s downtown Arts District this year. The property features a 25,000-square-foot grand ballroom, as well as a spa, restaurant, lobby bar, fitness center, and a rooftop pool deck and bar. InterContinental Dallas  Located in Cityplace Tower in Uptown, InterContinental Dallas will feature sweeping panoramic views of the Dallas skyline. Guests will enjoy spacious, high-end rooms and amenities, including more than 21,000 square feet of event space.   Hotel Swexan Hotel Swexan, a new, 22-story luxury property, is rising in Uptown’s Harwood District and will make its mark on the Dallas skyline. Opening this year, it is a sculptural building with cantilevered upper floors, as well as a 75-foot rooftop infinity-edge swimming pool and a hidden underground lounge.