Emerald Expositions Possibly Going on Sales Block (Reuters Report): Buys CEDIA Show

January 26, 2017

One of the largest trade show companies in the U.S., Emerald Expositions, is exploring a possible sale that would value the company at $2 billion, according to a Jan. 25 news report from Reuters citing unnamed sources.

Private equity firm Onex, which owns Emerald, has brought on Bank of America to manage the sale process of Emerald, the sources said.

David Loechner, president and CEO of Emerald Expositions, declined to comment.

Onex bought Nielsen Expositions, which was renamed Emerald Expositions, in June 2013 for $950 million.

Since then, Emerald rapidly expanded its portfolio with buys such as George Little Management for $335 million that included Surf Expo and the National Stationary Show, as well as other shows, in December 2013.

Just today, the company announced it acquired CEDIA trade show from the Custom Electronics Design & Installation Association.

The CEDIA trade show is an event in the home technology market, serving industry professionals that manufacture, design and integrate goods and services for the connected home.

“We have a long and successful track record of collaborating with the leading associations in the industry sectors we serve to produce “must-attend” trade shows and conferences,” Loechner said.

He added, “I am confident that the combination of Emerald’s deep experience, professional capabilities and unrivalled scale in operating trade shows, together with CEDIA’s clear vision, market affinity and pre-eminent educational content will propel the show forward for the benefit of the entire industry.”

CEDIA 2015 ranked #94 on TSNN's latest list of Top 250 U.S. Trade Shows, which is based on net square feet. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Emerald also has made several other buys:

December 2016 - American Craft Retailers Expo (“ACRE”) from IndieMe.

November 2016 - RFID Journal LIVE! Event - from RFID Journal

October 2016 -  National Pavement Expo - from AC Business Media and Digital Dealer Conference & Expo from Dealer Communications.

November 2015 - National Industrial Fastener & Mill Supply Expo

March 2015 -  Healthcare Design Conference and Expo and International Pizza Expo and Pizza Today magazine

Emerald currently operates more than 50 trade shows, including 30 of the top 250 trade shows in the country as ranked by TSNN, as well as numerous other events.

The company’s events connect more than 500,000 global attendees and exhibitors and occupy 6.5-plus million net square feet of exhibition space. 

If the Emerald buy materializes, it will be one of the largest buys in the past few years.

Last year, U.K.-based Informa acquired U.S.-based Penton, which includes the Natural Products Expo shows and WasteExpo, in a deal worth $1.56 billion from private equity owners MidOcean Partners and Wasserstein & Co.

In 2014, U.K.-based bought U.S.-based Advanstar Communications for $972 million, which included the biannual MAGIC Market Weeks shows, as well as the Licensing Expo, among others.

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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: