Last of Cygnus Shows Sold to Southcomm Business Media

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Fort Atkinson, WI – The final parcel of Cygnus Business Media’s trade show portfolio has been sold to a Nashville media company that had earlier picked up Cygnus’ fire and public safety events.

SouthComm Business Media acquired a collection of Cygnus shows, websites and publications in the aviation, printing, CPA, automatic merchandising and facilities sectors, with Cygnus effectively exiting the trade show business.

“This transaction represents the remaining business owned by Cygnus,” said Nick Curci, president of Corporate Solutions, LLC, the advisor to Cygnus in the negotiations. “This is the fifth and final transaction for this company and concludes a year-and-a-half process.”

Cygnus has been selling of pieces of its business since 2009, when it emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The new CEO, John French, had realigned the company’s portfolio into four affinity groups to both shore up its position in the respective sectors and also make it easier to market the company to buyers.

The five transactions include a total of 24 trade shows, 36 publications, 17 websites, proprietary software products and the corporate office building in Ft. Atkinson, WI.

The Cygnus Agriculture Group was sold to the American Farm Bureau last year, and the Heavy Construction Group went to AC Business Media, Inc.  in August. The Residential Construction Group was acquired by SOLA Group. SouthComm entered the B-to-B space in November with its acquisition of the seven-show Public Safety and Security Group.

It was not clear whether SouthComm would keep the Cygnus name or rebrand the assets it acquired in the final full week of 2014.

The shows acquired in the final Cygnus sale included four Facilities Expo events, which emphasize green-building operations. Also in the sale were Pacific Coast Machine Tool Expo and Northwest Machine Tool Expo, Aviation Pros LIVE, CPA Thought Leaders Symposium and the AMT Society.  Ten trade publications, the Graph Expo Show Daily and five websites were also sold.

SouthComm, which was formed in 2007, publishes an array of weekly and alternative newspapers from its Nashville headquarters. The company specializes in business and medical news, and has outlets in Washington, Atlanta and other major cities in the South and Midwest.

SouthComm last month acquired the Cygnus shows in the fire and public safety sector, including Firehouse Expo and EMS World, which was ranked on the Trade Show Executive Fastest 50 thanks to a 27.8% jump in attendance in 2013. They also acquired Cygnus assets in the vehicle repair and mass transit sectors.

Reach John French at (800) 547-7377 or john.french@cygnusb2b.com; Nick Curci at (203) 226-4040 or ncurci@csmergers.com; SouthComm founder and CEO Chris Ferrell at (615) 244-7989 or cferrell@southcomm.com