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UBM Board Agrees to Informa Offer in Trade Show Megadeal

Gabrielle Weiss
, Publisher & Editor
January 30, 2018
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CHICAGO — News of a megadeal to combine two of the world’s largest exhibition companies broke early Tuesday. Board members of UK-based UBM accepted an offer from Informa for a reported 3.8 billion pounds ($5.4 billion). The UBM board will recommend the transaction to its shareholders. If approved, both companies will move forward to create a giant B2B information services group.  

“The Enlarged Group has the potential to deliver strong growth and significant value for shareholders,” said Stephen A. Carter, CEO of Informa in a statement. “This will ensure the Enlarged Group enters 2019 as a single business, with positive growth momentum and well-placed to deliver at least 60 million pounds ($85 million) of annual recurring operating synergies.”

Informa said Patrick Martell, CEO of Informa's Business Intelligence Division, will additionally take over from Tim Cobbold as CEO of the UBM operating unit. It was also reported that the team will replicate the process and structure it adopted during the integration of Penton Information Services.

Reporting directly to Carter, Martell will work closely with Charlie McCurdy, CEO of Informa's Global Exhibitions Division, Andrew Mullins, CEO of Informa’s Knowledge & Networking Division, and senior operating management from UBM to develop the enlarged group's operating model and management structure.

Cobbold, and UBM Chief Financial Officer Marina Wyatt will step down from their roles within one month of the effective date. Cobbold will be retained in an advisory capacity through to the end of 2018.

The combination of Informa and UBM into the enlarged group will tie into Informa’s Growth Acceleration Plan and UBM’s Events First Strategy. The creation of the group bolsters the footprint of the two already major London-based players in the global trade show industry. Both companies have a sizable presence in the world market, including the U.S. where they organize such landmark shows as MAGIC, Licensing Expo, and World of Concrete.

Talks to merge the two major players previously had been underway in 2008, but ultimately, an agreement was not reached.

UBM placed four shows on the most recent Trade Show Executive Gold 100 while Informa had three events; there was one UBM show on the Fastest 50.

Informa and UBM both made major inroads in the U.S. via acquisitions in the current decade. Informa acquired Penton in 2016 and Hanley Wood Exhibitions in 2014. UBM acquired Advanstar Communications in 2014 and Canon Communications in 2010.

Reach Charles McCurdy, President & CEO of Informa’s Global Exhibitions division, at +44 (0) 20 7017 5000 or

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