Reed Elsevier, UBM remain bullish on trade shows

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Large media holding companies may have abandoned trade publications, but they haven't given up on b-to-b media completely, as a handful of deals announced recently by Reed Elsevier's Reed Exhibitions Brazil and United Business Media demonstrate.

Last year, Reed Elsevier's Reed Business Information sold most of its trade publications, divesting titles such as Furniture Today.

But in February, Reed Elsevier signaled a continued interest in expanding its event business when Reed Exhibitions Brazil acquired Multiplus Fairs and Events. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Multiplus produces an ethanol manufacturing event, Fenasucro. Chet Burchett, president of Reed Exhibitions Americas, said in a statement that Multiplus is “important in our long-term growth goals for Brazil.”

UBM has been shedding printing properties more quietly than RBI, but on the other hand it has been much more loudly aggressive in acquiring new event properties around the globe, with an emphasis on Asia, Brazil and North America.

UBM made 22 acquisitions in 2010 worth $421.2 million. Many of the acquisitions were events, which comprised 34.8% of UBM's revenue and 54.4% of its adjusted operating profit last year.

This month, UBM has announced two acquisitions and two divestments. The company bought SATTE, a travel and tourism exhibition in India, from Cross Section Publications. It also acquired a 60% stake in Famdent, which produces dental events in India, forming a joint venture with Anil and Jyotika Arora. Financial terms of those deals were not disclosed.

UBM also announced the divestment of two print-focused businesses. It sold 62.9% of its French medical newspaper and magazine business to a management buyout team led by GĂ©rard Kouchner, the business' CEO. The deal included $6.1 million in cash and financing from UBM of $8.3 million.

UBM also sold The Publican and related products to William Reed Business Media for an initial cash consideration of $2.5 million plus performance-related considerations of up to $245,000.

David Levin, UBM's CEO, said trade shows thrive in the digital age, because, like the Internet and unlike print, they are interactive. “The trade show is inherently about two-way communication,” he said.

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