Nielsen Expositions Sold to Onex

Toronto-based private equity firm Onex Corp. has acquired trade show producer Nielsen Expositions, an affiliate of Nielsen Holdings, for $950 million, it announced today.

“This is an exciting development in the history of the Nielsen Expositions business,” Nielsen Expositions President David Loechner said in a statement. “Onex’s experience and successful track record in executing similar corporate carve-outs and building those divisions into industry-leading businesses position it as a strong partner. We look forward to working with Onex to execute our strategic plan and to continue to grow the business to better serve the exhibitors and attendees who participate in our events, all the while providing a seamless, business-as-usual transition for our clients and associates.”

Based in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., Nielsen Exhibitions currently produces more than 65 business-to-business trade shows and conferences every year across nine different verticals, including general merchandise, sports, hospitality and retail design, jewelry and photography. It has approximately 240 employees and generates annual revenues of approximately $183 million.

“Nielsen Expositions’ strength in the U.S. business-to-business trade show industry is evidenced by its high renewal rates, longstanding exhibitor relationships and the brand strength of the underlying shows,” said Onex Managing Director Kosty Gilis. “This is a great opportunity to partner with David and his management team to build on the company’s market leadership position through continued expansion of its existing shows as well as select acquisitions.”

Nielsen Holdings — which previously owned Successful Meetings and its sister publications, Business Travel News, MeetingNews and Incentive, before selling them to Northstar Travel Media in 2010 — said it was selling Nielsen Expositions in order to focus on its core business.

“Nielsen is committed to investing in and developing capabilities across our Watch and Buy segments,” said Nielsen Chief Financial Officer Brian West. “Divesting the Expositions business allows us to focus on these core areas that provide our clients with a comprehensive understanding of consumers while providing more flexibility to return capital to our shareholders over time. Our Expositions leadership team has built a world-class business with successful and respected brands. We believe under Onex’s ownership, a great business will achieve even greater success.”

For a recap of last week's top stories, check out MeetingNews Minute:

> Watch More Videos