dmg::events in November tapped Michael Green to expand a new U.S. division that oversees event properties such as ad:tech and Digital Collective. The former Hanley Wood executive spoke to Media Business about the company's acquisition plans, the lessons of a poor economy and the value of diversifying the portfolio.
Media Business: What is the company's expansion strategy?
All of our current U.S. products are in the digital marketing arena. We are launching additional products within existing groups. In addition, we will be looking at completely different marketplaces. We have not pointed in any one direction yet. We would be going into other marketplaces and looking for entry points via acquisitions; then, once we get into a marketplace, we may further our positions and have some internal launches based on the products.
Media Business: The trade show M&A market performed well in 2012. Are you seeing a lot of opportunity now?
Many of these products in the trade show market—it doesn't matter what industry—are really back to levels (seen) in the 1990s. They went down pretty quickly, and they'll come back—but not that quickly. A lot of things are going to be changing... .
Typically there has to be some kind of tipping point, a moment when (an) owner wants to sell (an) event. Our job, as a potential acquirer of products, is to look for those tipping points and be at the right place at the right time. We have to establish that it is something that can grow.
We have not confined ourselves to any sector yet. But once we do, we are going to explore that sector. We have some ideas of the marketplaces that we think can grow. There is a lot of land out there that is of interest to us.
These acquisitions become entry points into a marketplace where we think we can do more (than) the current show is doing. We can grow the products and maybe (add) auxiliary products and launches around that foothold. It could be regional events or conferences off of a large national event; if you have a large horizontal show, there might be vertical opportunities.
Media Business: So you are not limiting yourself to opportunities adjacent to the digital marketing category?
We did a lot of acquisitions with Hanley Wood, and we looked at tipping points; but we were confined to construction. One of the lessons that we learned: When all of your product is in one market sector, it can be dangerous when that market sector turns. I would prefer to be in more than one market sector to have a variety of products that can weather those economic cycles.