Questex Acquired by Equity Firm Shamrock Capital Advisors

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on print
Share on email

Newton, MA – Questex Media Group has been acquired by Shamrock Capital Advisors, a California equity firm with an interest in digital media and a desire to see Questex remain on course.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed. It did not appear there would be any changes in the Questex management team led by President & CEO Kerry Gumas.

“Shamrock supports our ongoing business initiatives and shares our goal of extending Questex’s service offerings and market footprint,” Gumas said.

Questex was formed in 2005 by Gumas and a group of fellow Advanstar Communications, Inc. executives who acquired five of Advanstar’s industry groups, which provided the new company with a launching pad of 21 trade shows, 25 conferences and 73 web sites and publications. Questex currently organizes more than 50 trade shows, conferences and other events along with business media and other information products. Its Nightclub & Bar Convention & Trade Show was ranked 100th on the most-recent Trade Show Executive (TSE) Gold 100. Recent moves include expansion of hosted buyer events and conferences serving the hotel industry in Asia, Europe and Brazil plus the acquisition of the HSMAI Meet event series in the U.S. from Hospitality Sales and Marketing International.

“Over the years, Questex has aggregated a unique set of assets with significant untapped potential,” said Shamrock partner William Wynperle, who will join the Questex board of directors. “We look forward to working with Kerry and the Questex team.”

Questex has 350 employees worldwide and emerged from bankruptcy in 2009 amid a financial restructuring program. Part of the plan included sale of the Massachusetts-based company to an undisclosed group of senior lenders.

In recent years, Questex has picked up steam, particularly in the digital media arena that Shamrock is right at home with. “We have experienced double-digit growth in our digital media business for several years running, and we expect that to continue,” Gumas told TSE.

Shamrock traces its roots back to 1978, when the predecessor firm was founded as the investment company for the late Roy E. Disney. Today its portfolio includes the Harlem Globetrotters, MarketCast, Mobilitie, Netgear, FanDuel, Triad Broadcasting Company, and others.  Gumas said Shamrock has a deep understanding of the media, communications and entertainment sectors and customers that Questex serves. Although Questex is the only events organizer in Shamrock’s portfolio, the new ownership does not mean trade shows will be moved to the back burner at Questex.

“Shamrock fully supports our strategy,” Gumas told TSE. “Events represent a substantial percentage of our revenue and we continue to have a keen interest in adding trade shows and other business events via acquisitions and internal growth.”

Trade shows, sponsored conferences and hosted buyer events have contributed to growth in revenues for the Questex events business, Gumas said. The upward momentum has been brisk in both exhibitor and attendee spending. “Forward bookings into Q1 2015 are strong and we are on pace for another good year,” Gumas said.

Reach Kerry Gumas at (617) 219-8300 or kgumas@questex.com