US private equity firm Blackstone has bought leading event organiser Clarion for £600m.
The long-established business runs a host of large-scale industry events including ICE Totally Gaming, Juegos Miami and EiG each year.
“Clarion’s leading position in its markets combined with its strong management team will enable the company to continue growing both organically and through mergers and acquisitions”
“Clarion’s leading position in its markets combined with its strong management team will enable the company to continue growing both organically and through mergers and acquisitions,” said Lionel Assant, head of European private equity at Blackstone. “Blackstone has a significant track record of investing in media businesses as well as buy and build platforms. We look forward to working together with management to capitalise on its success.”
The new figure values the company at three times the price previous owner Providence Equity paid in 2015. Rival bidders for the UK-based business included buyout firm Cinven and Chinese investment company XIO.
Clarion owns the rights to hundreds of UK exhibitions, including the Olympia Horse Show, the House and Garden Show and the Condé Nast Traveller Luxury Fair.
Clarion has continued to escalate in size, and now runs more than 180 events in 50- plus countries, attracting in excess of one million visitors.
“We are extremely excited about our new partnership with Blackstone and see a great future going forward. The management team has enjoyed an immensely productive and successful relationship with Providence, who have been tremendous partners over the last two years,” added Russell Wilcox, CEO of Clarion Events.
The deal came just days after Blackstone – which has more than $371bn assets under management, launched a £3bn bid with CVC Capital Partners to buy card processing company Paysafe, potentially indicating real interest in the gaming sector for the US firm going forward.