Hanley Wood Acquired by UK’s Informa plc; McConnell Still Prez

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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London, UK – Hanley Woods Exhibitions has been sold to Informa plc, a British show organizing company, for $375 million, it was announced November 18.

The transaction, which is expected to close by the end of the year, will add 17 trade shows and events to Informa’s worldwide portfolio, including some of the leading exhibitions in the U.S. construction sector.

Two of Hanley Wood Exhibitions’ construction shows placed high in the most recent TSE Gold 100 rankings of largest U.S. exhibitions. World of Concrete was ranked 20th and SURFACES placed No. 50.

Hanley Wood Exhibitions will be rebranded Informa Exhibitions U.S. and Rick McConnell will remain as president of the group based in Irving, TX. No staff reductions are anticipated.

Informa acquired Phoenix-based Virgo Publishing this Summer. The company otherwise organizes shows throughout the world. Its current construction offerings include the five BUILDEX shows in Canada. Informa pointed out at the time of the Virgo acquisition that Virgo’s Supplyside West show in the U.S. perfectly mirrored Informa’s Vitafoods, which served the same industry market in Asia, Latin America and Europe.

“This is a terrific portfolio of leading construction exhibition brands that will become a key component of our Global Exhibitions Division,” Informa CEO Stephen Carter said. “In combination with other recent acquisitions, we have significantly strengthened our presence in the U.S., demonstrating our commitment to the sector and the region.”

Informa’s next step will be a detailed look at its new properties with an eye to expanding its brands into the U.S. and seeking other opportunities around the world. “The strategic planning process is ready to begin,” McConnell told Trade Show Executive (TSE). “Plans include looking at show assets to examine launch opportunities, special pavilion areas featuring other show exhibitors, geo-cloning on core brands including World of Concrete and Greenbuild and attendee development opportunities.”

“The plan is to look at launching shows from abroad into the U.S. and U.S.-based shows into locations where the conditions are favorable;  Asian countries, South America and European options are being reviewed,” McConnell said.

Peter Goldstone, CEO of Hanley Wood, said the recovery of the U.S. economy had generated interest in the trade show division and it appeared to be a good time to agree to a sale. “The country is on the verge of a serious market recovery and we have the dominant platforms.”

Hanley Wood’s trade show revenues have grown 4% to 7% annually since 2010, McConnell said. Hanley Wood declined to discuss the EBITDA numbers involved in the sale to Informa.

Hanley Wood and Informa PLC will also enter into a long-term partnership agreement under which Hanley Wood will continue to provide editorial and marketing support for events.

Hanley Wood will continue its transition to a marketing and information services company.

Two of Hanley Wood Exhibitions’ construction shows placed high in the most recent Trade Show Executive Gold 100 rankings of largest U.S. exhibitions. World of Concrete was ranked 20th and SURFACES placed No. 50.

Reach Stephen Carter at +44 (0)207 017 5000 or stephen.carter@informa.com; Peter Goldstone at 202-452-0800 or pgoldstone@hanleywood.com; Rick McConnell at (972) 536-6300 or rmcconnell@hanleywood.com