Urban Expositions, Marketplace Events Both Acquire New Show Groups

September 10, 2015

Trade show mergers and acquisitions are in full swing, with two big organizers – Urban Expositions (recently bought by Clarion Events) and Marketplace Events – scooping up more shows for their rapidly expanding portfolios.

Hot on the heels of the first acquisition, Womens Wear in Nevada, under the Clarion ownership, Urban Expositions also bought Hamptons Expo Group.

The New York-based show group founded and produces ArtAspen, ArtHamptons, Houston Fine Art Fair and Palm Springs Fine Art Fair.

Rick Friedman, former owner and president of Hamptons Expo Group, will continue his involvement in a consulting capacity. 

Rich Ferrante, Hamptons Expo Group's sales director will continue to focus on gallery outreach for ArtAspen, ArtHamptons, Houston Fine Art Fair, and Palm Springs Fine Art Fair.

In 2013, Urban Expositions acquired SOFA CHICAGO, Chicago's longest continuously running gallery presented art fair.

The Hamptons Expo Group's art fairs feature galleries and dealers from around the world exhibiting modern and contemporary art in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture and mixed-media.

“This new acquisition takes the number of shows under Urban's control to 40, and we are actively seeking more opportunities,” said Doug Miller, CEO of Urban.

He added, “We are excited to further expand our art and design portfolio, which has been our goal since the acquisition of SOFA in 2013. The Hamptons Expo Group fairs are in desirable cities that are important to the galleries and the art community, and we believe we can leverage our activity across the fairs to deliver dynamic and high-quality events."

The Hamptons Expo Group will assist Urban Expositions with the production of the upcoming Houston Fine Art Fair, and Urban Expositions will take over ownership and management at the close of the 2015 event.

The Houston Fine Art Fair takes place at the NRG Center in Houston, Sept. 9-12.

"We have long believed companies that are looking to sell their businesses either in part or whole, want to transact with a buyer who either has the same ethos as them and/or can provide a recognizable growth opportunity," added Simon Kimble, chairman of Clarion Events.

He said, "We clearly would like to continue this approach and look forward to making more acquisitions with Urban in the USA."

Marketplace Events, the largest home show producer in the U.S., purchased two consumer home shows held annually in Winnipeg, MB, from the Manitoba Home Builders' Association (MHBA), a nonprofit trade association with more than 300 members.

Marketplace Events acquired the Kitchen, Bath & Renovation Show held annually in January and the Home Expressions Home and Garden Show held every March, both at the RBC Convention Centre.

"We've been nothing but impressed with the potential of the home show business in Winnipeg and with the leadership of the Manitoba Home Builders' Association," said Tom Baugh, CEO of Marketplace Events. "Based on the strong consumer show history of the Winnipeg market and the dramatic expansion of the RBC Convention Centre, our expectations of growth in Manitoba are significant.”

He added, "We think this is a smart acquisition, both short and long term."

Jan Currier, who managed the events for the MHBA, will continue to manage the shows alongside the Marketplace Events team out of Vancouver, BC.

"The Manitoba Home Builders' Association has been proud to be able to present Home Expressions for 40 years and KBR for 12 years to interested Manitoba consumers," said Mike Moore, president of the MHBA. "We are confident of continued excellence from MarketplaceEvents and look forward to the growth and improvement of both shows in the coming years."

The Winnipeg purchase is the first acquisition of the year for the company that in 2014 added seven home shows to their portfolio, acquiring a show in Edmonton, AB, and two in Raleigh, N.C., while also launching two shows in Ottawa, ON, and one each in Edmonton, AB, and New Orleans.

The acquisition expands the company's footprint in Canada to 13 annual shows in six markets in addition to their 29 U.S. shows.

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