dmg Sells Consumer Shows to Investment Firm

DARLENE GUDEA, VP, PUBLISHER & EDITOR
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Larkspur, CA and Little Rock, AR – There’s more proof that the business and financial profile of the events industry continues to attract new investors. Marketplace Events LLC, which has been formed by Stephens Capital Partners LLC, acquired the entire North American consumer show portfolio of dmg world media on July 24 for $53 million. Not only does the acquisition of 38 shows in 27 cities give Stephens entrée into the exhibition industry, it gives the company the largest consumer show platform in North America any way you look at it – revenue, market coverage and number of consumer events.

The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc. (JEGI) represented dmg world media in the transaction.

“We are very pleased with the outcome of this sale as we were able to find a great buyer at the right price,” said Mike Cooke, CEO of dmg world media.

Stephens Capital Partners is the private equity affiliate of Stephens Inc., a privately held investment banking firm headquartered in Little Rock, AR.  Founded in 1933, the firm has holdings in companies in the retailing, health care, media, oil and gas, technology, manufacturing and other sectors. Stephens is a member of the New York Stock Exchange and SIPC. The company differs from traditional investment banks with private equity funds; Stephens invests its own capital, generally in early stage companies, and takes a long-term perspective working in partnership with management. The average tenure of their holdings is over 10 years; some have been in the fold for 20 to 40 years. One of their companies – Viking Range Corp. – is a leading exhibitor in dmg’s home shows, and helped Stephens to understand the importance of the shows in the Viking marketing mix.

dmg world media is a subsidiary of the Daily Mail and General Trust plc, one of the largest media companies in the U.K.  The firm retains the Daily Mail’s Ideal Home Show held annually in London.  dmg entered the consumer show market in North America with the acquisition of Southex Exhibitions in 1996. “The home shows were a significant reason for dmg world media’s entry into the North American market in the first place and we have all enjoyed building the business to where it is today,” said Michael Franks, COO of dmg world media.

Last September, dmg acquired the remaining 51% stake of George Little Management, producer of the New York International Gift Fair.  At the same time, dmg announced it would sell its portfolio of North American consumer home shows. “We’ve taken a good look at our business and determined the right strategic direction for us is to focus on our B-to-B business and to lessen our involvement in consumer events in North America,” said dmg’s CEO Mike Cooke.

On June 19, dmg reorganized its B-to-R division (Business to Retail) into three teams, eliminated 31 positions and elevated several senior executives. dmg now produces 250 shows and publishes 45 magazines, newspapers and market reports.

Marketplace Events has retained Tom Baugh, VP of the Home Show sector; his management team; and the nearly 100-person home show staff. Additional dmg staff in HR, IT and finance will join the company. The 2008 schedule of shows will take place as planned.

Reach Mike Cooke, CEO at (415) 464-8500 or mikecooke@dmgworldmedia.com; Warren Stephens, CEO at (501) 377-2000.