Informa Acquires MMPI Canada for $53 Million; Posts Half-year Earnings Losses

July 25, 2012

The mergers and acquisitions market in the trade show industry is warming up after a few years of quiet times with the recent purchase of Vornado Realty Trust’s MMPI Canada by Informa for $53 million.

The acquisition is a bright note in what has been a challenging period for Informa with some of it events businesses in Europe struggling.

MMPI Canada produces 55 trade shows, conferences and consumer shows on an annual basis, and Informa organizes more than 8,500 worldwide conferences and courses annually.

The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc., based in New York City, represented MMPI Canada in the transaction.

“There was considerable interest from both strategic and financial buyers reflecting the leading market position of MMPI Canada, and the quality of its management,” said Richard Mead, managing director of JEGI.

He added, “This underscores the ongoing strength of the events model in B2B and B2C marketing.”

Informa, with a head office in Switzerland, has more than 150 offices in 43-plus countries and employs 8,500 staff around the world.

“With specialization in construction, real estate, interior design and furnishing, the business (MMPI Canada) fits well with our sector strengths, and we are confident about the opportunities that exist to grow the business within Informa by launching new shows or geo-cloning existing ones into new markets,” officials said.

Informa also released its half-year results July 25 and the company posted a loss of £41.9 million ($65 million), compared with a net income of £55.5 million from the same period last year.

In addition, because of the continuing European debt crisis, it has been forced to sell its event businesses in Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic and parts of Germany, according to news reports.

Despite the setbacks, Informa’s CEO Peter Rigby said when the earnings results were released, “We are encouraged by the product launches coming in the second half of the year as well as our recent Canadian acquisition.  We are making good progress on a number of growth initiatives including geographic expansion, across Informa which gives the Board confidence in meeting its expectations for the full year and the Group’s future prospects.”

Other recent M&A deals in the trade show industry include Freeman’s sale of Fern Exposition & Event Services to Fern’s COO Aaron Bludworth and an investment group.

Wicks Group also recently bought Northstar Travel Media from private equity owner BV Investment Partners, and St. Louis-based Maritz Travel also acquired Twinsburg, Ohio-based Experient in April.

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