Report: Advanstar on Verge of Being Sold to UBM

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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New York, NY – Talks were reportedly in the home stretch September 17 on a potential sale of Advanstar Communications, Inc. to UBM plc.

The Reuters news agency said in an exclusive report that UBM was set to pay $900 million for Advanstar, and that the negotiations were in the “advanced” stage. Sources told Reuters that a deal could be announced as early as this week.

Neither company had any immediate comment on the possible deal, nor did the three private equity firms that own Advanstar. Advanstar CEO Joe Loggia told Trade Show Executive that he couldn’t comment on anything related to a potential sale.

Reuters said other companies, including Penton, had submitted unsuccessful bids for Advanstar. UBM, which is led by new CEO Tim Cobbold, is apparently the only player still in the running.

Advanstar’s portfolio includes 54 trade shows, 100 conferences, 30 publications and nearly 200 digital products serving the Fashion, Licensing, Life Sciences and Powersports sectors. Its flagship event is the semi-annual MAGIC Marketplace which ranks in the top ten in size each year, according to Trade Show Executive’s Gold 100 rankings. UBM is among the largest show organizers in the world with more than 400 events in the 30 nations, including a strong presence in Asia.

Advanstar is controlled by hedge fund Anchorage Capital Group and private equity firms Ares Management LP and Veronis Suhler Stevenson. In 2007, VSS led a consortium which included Citigroup Private Equity and New York Life Capital Partners, which paid $1.1 billion for Advanstar, which organized nearly 150 events at that time.

Investment bankers Goldman Sachs Group and Moelis & Co. are representing Advanstar in the transaction.

Reach Joe Loggia, CEO of Advanstar, at (310) 857-7500 or jloggia@advanstar.com