In years past it acquired the Project and Pool trade shows and its primary fashion trade-show producing competitor, ENK International. Now, Advanstar Communications Inc., which is best known for producing the enormous MAGIC Marketplace event in Las Vegas twice a year, is the acquiree instead of the acquirer.

The Santa Monica, California–based trade show and media company announced yesterday that it has signed a definitive agreement with UK-based UBM plc to be acquired for $972 million, a deal that will make UBM the largest US events organizer.

UBM will assume ownership from an investor group that includes Anchorage Capital Group LLC, Veronis Suhler Stevenson, as well as funds managed by the Tradable Credit Group at Ares Management L.P.
The deal is expected to close by year’s end.
Entrance to the trade show Project
Entrance to the trade show Project

Advanstar’s CEO, Joe Loggia, who has agreed to stay on for a period after the deal closes, said the following in a released statement: “We are extremely pleased to join such a dynamic organization and bring together our complementary businesses, talented teams and customer-focused cultures. UBM’s interest in Advanstar reflects the success of our strategy and quality of our industry-leading products. With greater scale across key international geographies, the combined company will be strongly positioned to continue expanding into dynamic, vertical markets. Together with UBM, we will be a global leader with a well- established portfolio of highly regarded trade shows, attracting exhibitors and retailers from all over the world and providing enhanced opportunities for customers to share insights, build critical connections and drive commerce.”

Added UBM’s CEO Tim Cobblold: “This is a great acquisition for UBM and its shareholders. In addition to being financially attractive, it strengthens UBM’s core events business while balancing and complementing UBM’s strong events portfolio in emerging markets. UBM will become the largest events organizer in the US–the biggest events market in the world. Advanstar gives UBM a portfolio of high quality, large scale ‘must-attend’ events which serve growing markets, particularly the US fashion industry, a new vertical for UBM.”

Advanstar’s current portfolio encompasses 54 trade shows, 100 conferences, 30 publications and nearly 200 electronic products and websites.

In addition to producing trade shows and events, London-based UBM owns PR Newswire and offers other marketing services. It operates in more than 20 countries. The company began as United Newspapers Limited in 1918.