National Restaurant Association Acquires Majority Stake In Winsight, Blackstone Scoops Up IDG for $1.3 Billion

June 21, 2021

Throughout the trade show and related industries, new mergers and acquisitions are being established as organizations position themselves for future growth and success. Take a look at two major deals that happened earlier this month:

National Restaurant Association and Winsight

On June 1, the National Restaurant Association announced that it has taken a majority stake in Chicago-based Winsight Holdings, LLC, a media, events and information company that connects the restaurant, foodservice, convenience retailing and grocery industries through an extensive portfolio of research, events and industry news. 

The deal intensifies a three-year equity partnership between the two organizations that began in 2018 with Winsight’s acquisition of the National Restaurant Association Show, the world’s largest annual gathering of foodservice professionals. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Winsight will remain an independent entity and its senior leadership team will stay in place with Mike Wood as CEO. The organization will continue to own and operate the annual National Restaurant Association Show, which has not been held in-person since 2019, but is set to return May 21-24, 2022 at McCormick Place in Chicago. The market-leading event will continue to be promoted jointly.

“Together, the National Restaurant Association and Winsight will be better positioned to support the dynamic demands of the restaurant, foodservice and allied retail industries as it continues to rebuild,” explained NRA President and CEO Tom Bené in a statement. “The association’s investment in Winsight reinforces its commitment to support and best represent the interests of the entire industry.” 

In addition to the National Restaurant Association Show, Winsight operates the annual Restaurant Leadership Conference, the tech-focused FSTEC, the Global Restaurant Leadership Conference and Outlook Leadership. It also owns Technomic, a market intelligence firm that provides insights to the food and beverage industries, as well as restaurant, c-store and grocery trade publications Restaurant Business, CSP, Foodservice Director and Winsight Grocery Business. 

The deal, designed to provide Winsight with more fiscal flexibility, follows a difficult year that significantly damaged the restaurant industry.

“In the face of an historic challenge, our industry has shown resilience, innovation and teamwork,” Wood said. “Restaurants are in the early days of a comeback that promises significant growth for the next five years. Convenience and grocery stores have evolved and redefined what it means to be essential. Thanks to this renewed partnership with the Association, Winsight’s market-defining thought leadership will be available to fuel a rebirth.”

Blackstone and International Data Group

Global investment firm Blackstone has acquired International Data Group, a leading market intelligence and data platform for the rapidly changing tech industry, for $1.3 billion.

On June 3, the firm announced that private equity funds managed by Blackstone had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire IDG from Oriental Rainbow, LLC, a subsidiary of China Oceanwide Holdings Group.

Founded in 1964, IDG delivers proprietary insights and data for technology suppliers and buyers on every major shift in the technology market through events, research and media brands including CIO, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld, Macworld, Network World, PCWorld and Tech Hive. 

“The high-quality data, analytics and insights IDG delivers to technology leaders are only becoming more critical as the pace of growth and innovation accelerates,” said Peter Wallace, global head of Core Private Equity at Blackstone. “IDG has a trusted brand and deep knowledge of tech suppliers and buyers, and our investment will help the company accelerate its plans for creating even more advanced product offerings across its business.”

The new ownership will allow IDG to invest significantly in additional opportunities for ongoing growth across its technology and product portfolio, including strategic acquisitions to extend its market leadership position, according to IDG officials.

“Additional capital investment from Blackstone will allow us to cultivate our rich history of innovation and accelerate our product roadmaps to bring our customers the deeper insights and data they need to succeed in today’s rapidly evolving digital economy,” said IDG CEO Mohamad Ali. “The IDG management team is also excited for the growth opportunity this acquisition creates as we deliver even greater value to our customers.”

IDG, Inc. and its subsidiaries have made multiple recent acquisitions to further increase its capabilities for its customers. In 2020, it purchased Triblio to expand its SaaS platform and bolster its ability to support robust marketing activation programs. Last month, it acquired Metri to increase its IT pricing dataset, adding IT budget and operations benchmarking and sourcing services.


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Partner Voices

As event professionals and destinations adjust, adapt and evolve in these uncharted waters, it is imperative that substantial resources be put in place for all of the people responsible for planning and executing trade shows, expositions and conventions. An example is Mohegan Sun, which built an industry-leading, COVID-19 Resource Center with a combination of pictures from recently held successful events (the property reopened on May 1, 2020) along with several widely available and informative documents, such as an evolving operational framework: