As a new season of apparel trade shows kicks of the year in the USA, industry eyes are on the new union of ENK International (enkshows.com) and WSA (wsashow.com). Just before the holiday, ENK - of which a majority stake was purchased by Forstmann Little & Co. in May 2006 - announced its purchase of global footwear organization WSA Global Holdings LLC, an acquisition that will continue to propel ENK’s fashion product category expansion while further accelerating the impressive growth of the WSA show.

Elyse Kroll, Chairman of ENK and a major shareholder, and Luis Padilla, President of ENK, who joined the company in May 2007 to drive ENK’s growth strategy, will continue to lead ENK. Skip Farber, Chief Executive Officer of WSA, and Diane Stone, Chief Operating Officer of WSA, will remain as the executive team at WSA.

“Both ENK and WSA have very strong market positions, excellent management teams and significant potential for growth,” said Theodore J. Forstmann, Forstmann Little & Co. Senior Founding Partner. “We consider the combination of these two great companies to be the perfect storm of ‘best in class’ leadership and marketing in the fashion Trade Show Industry. We are very excited about the growth opportunities for this combination.”

Elyse Kroll said, “Forstmann Little is the ideal partner to help the ENK – WSA combined company accelerate its growth opportunities and realize its full potential. We have already begun to work with IMG Fashion in some very important areas and we believe the integration of the talented ENK and WSA management teams will allow the company to be in a position to take advantage of the many growth opportunities we see in our future. The strength of the ENK and WSA brands and the value we bring to our customers provide many avenues for growth, and we intend to leverage this remarkable platform to significantly grow the business while maintaining continuity and stability of our valuable customer relationships.”