Private Equity Firm Onex Buys Nielsen Expositions for $950 Million

May 5, 2013

Toronto-based private equity firm Onex emerged as the buyer of Nielsen Expositions from Nielsen Holdings N.V. for $950 million in cash consideration.

“This is an exciting development in the history of the Nielsen Expositions business,” said David Loechner, president of Nielsen Expositions.

He added, “Onex’ experience and successful track record in executing similar corporate carve-outs and building those divisions into industry-leading businesses position it as a strong partner. We look forward to working with Onex to execute our strategic plan and to continue to grow the business to better serve the exhibitors and attendees who participate in our events, all the while providing a seamless, business-as-usual transition for our clients and associates.”

San Juan Capistrano, Calif.-based Nielsen Expositions has 65 trade shows and conferences across nine different markets.

Ten of those shows placed on the 2012 TSNN Top 250 Trade Show list, with the largest being ASD Las Vegas – Aug. at 683,846 net square feet.

For the year ended Dec. 31, 2012, Nielsen Expositions generated revenues of approximately $183 million, adjusted EBITDA of $97 million and incurred capital expenditures of $2 million on a stand-alone basis.

“Nielsen Expositions’ strength in the U.S. business-to-business tradeshow industry is evidenced by its high renewal rates, long-standing exhibitor relationships, and the brand strength of the underlying shows,” said Kosty Gillis, an Onex managing director.

Gillis added, “This is a great opportunity to partner with David and his management team to build on the company’s market leadership position through continued expansion of its existing shows as well as select acquisitions.”

Nielsen said the company will be focusing on its Watch and Buy segments.

Brian West, chief financial officer of Nielsen, added, “Divesting the expositions business allows us to focus on these core areas that provide our clients with a comprehensive understanding of consumers while providing more flexibility to return capital to our shareholders over time.”

Onex Partners III, Onex’ $4.7 billion private equity fund, will make an equity investment of approximately $350 million, of which Onex’ share is approximately $85 million as a Limited Partner in the Fund, according to company officials.

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