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I was at ExpoSummit Africa in Cape Town in February where I made a presentationabout using international partnerships forbusiness expansion. Among a number of presentations frominternational speakers, Montgomerychairman Sandy Angus gave a very informative overview of how thecompany's business has developed both inSouth Africa and in other African countriessuch as Nigeria and Libya.It was clear from conversations that severalof the local organisers are considering thenext stage in their development includingexporting shows from South Africa to otherparts of the African continent. The timing ofthe Summit was good as there is a lot ofpotential in the region. The organisers of the Summit have alsoseen the international activity in Turkey andlaunched ExpoSummit Turkey. These forumsdefinitely facilitate the current businessdevelopment opportunities and I'm lookingforward to seeing the local organisersinteracting with the big exhibition groups inIstanbul in September.On the acquisition front and starting withthe emerging markets, we saw anotheracquisition in Brazil in February as FieraMilanoacquired 75 per cent of GrupoCipa. The maximum price is ?16.7m(£14.16m) which equates to a multiple of 7.4xexpected average profits for 2011 to 2013.Grupo Cipa is one of the larger privatelyowned organisers with a portfolio of 14exhibitions including safety, security andtechnology. Fiera Milano now joins UBM,Informa and Clarion as prime candidates forfurther acquisitions. In Germany, Messe FrankfurtacquiredVoice + IP Germanyfrom DVPT- theGerman Association for Post, IT andTelecommunications and will co-locate it withits Digital Touch event. Messe Frankfurt hasbeen steadily developing this sector andrecently acquired M-Days, the mobilecommunications fair from 11 ProzentCommunication, as well as BeConnected, a CRM event.The big news from the US is the IPO ofNielsen, the global information andmeasurement company, raising US$1.8bn(£1.52bn). The exhibition part consists of 40diverse trade shows from design to retail butonly represents 4 per cent of the company's$4.8bn annual revenue. This is the first majorfundraising exercise for some time and itsignals money is finally becoming available forthe big deals. Also in the US, MacTech Magazineacquired the US version of NSConferencefrom iDeveloper IT. The conference forsoftware developers will be folded intothe MacTech conference for Appledevelopers. This looks to be a USmarket consolidation move and theUK NSConference will continue tobe owned and run independentlyby iDeveloper.In the UK we have furtherconsolidation of the exhibitionservices market with themerger of Opexand theEarly Action Group.m&a EXHIBITION NEWSDealmakers EXHIBITIONNEWS.CO.UKMARCH 2011 9Opex previously acquired Stanco andExposystems and is backed by OctopusCapital. On a final note, there is clear evidence bothfrom our own projects and from talking tosome of the main purchasers that multiplesare finally on the increase. We are certainlyseeing much morecompetitionfor goodbusinesses- the M&Amarket isdefinitelybuoyantagain. Mayfield Media's Steve Monningtonon the latest international mergersand acquisitions activity.. 21,000m² indoor space. 800 acres plus 250 acres of showground. 8 conference rooms. 58 bedroom hotel . Car parking for over 30,000 carsContact us now. Call 0844 847 6685 or go online at

This release features unique col-laborations between John Foxx and some of his favourite film-makers, with all of the short movies on the DVD being made especially for this project. On top of that, the CD features all the music for EXHIBITION NEWSnews plus Itracks that Foxx had recorded as possibilities for soundtracks.The final track on split disc, Over the whether is thea merger new of col-laboration between Group/John Stanco Foxx,and EarlyHarold Budd Group (Garcia, while both parts significantand beneficial impact on the shape A and Secret size ofthe contractors Bloom market.were The recorded merger of two D Agostino. country's Japan percus-sionist contractors was announced features on the A Secret Life instrumentals. All of the stunning artwork for the project has been designed by Jona-than Barnbook, who has previously worked with Damien Hirst and also David Bowie, designing the sleeve and inner booklet for his Heathen and Reality albums.The full track-listing for DNA is as follows.Disc One : CD.01. Maybe Tomor-row 02. Kaiyahura 03. City of Mirage 04. Flightpath Tegel 05. Violet Bloom 06. Phantom Lover 07. A Secret Life 7 08. A Secret Life 2 09. Over the MirageDisc Two : DVD - a collection of short films. 01. Maybe Tomorrow by Karborn 02. Violet Bloom by Steve D Agostino 03. Flightpath Tegel by Ian Emes 04. A Secret Life 2 by Ian Emes 05. City of Mirage by Macoto Tezka 06. Kaiyagura by Macoto Tezka 07. Over the Mirage by Macoto Tezka 08. A Half-Remembered Sentence From The Quiet Man by Jonathan Barnbrook 09. Clicktrack by Jonathan Barnbrook'D.N.A. is huge on lavishly layered filmscapes. As the finest instru-mental music should, it allows the listener to paint their own pic-tures. Foxx is really on to some-thing here.' Q MAGAZINE'Perfect blend of sound and vision. A brilliant idea perfectly captured by genius.' RECORD COLLECTOR'A fine overview of Foxx's tal-ents - from "quiet music" maes-tro to purveyor of pulsating synth noir.' FACT MAGAZINE'D.N.A.'s instrumentals have that lovely half-heardness of the likes of Harold Budd or Roger Eno.' MOJO MAGAZINE'The ambient pieces have an unavoidably Eno-esque quality to them: still melan-cholic but also involving a profound sense of peace, of drift, ebb and flow. In his moody electro songs Foxx spans both the conceptual and the infectiously melodic.' THE QUIETUS"The album varies between shim-mering Electronica and bold analogue-driven blip-Pop and elegant ambient works, of which the ghostly "Kaiyagura" - with its melancholy, reverb-drenched piano - is quite exquisite.' FUTURE MUSICOnce again, some thoughts from Amazon.I find this one of John Foxx's more emotional and evocative albums. The tracks range from the very electronic Flightpath Tegel and semi-robotic Phantom Lover to his latest collabora-tion with Harold Budd on Over The Mirage - but what links most of them is sort of wistful, un-derstated melancholy. Also, after a couple of plays the melodies really start to grab hold, especially on the really very beautiful Kaiyagura. Best of the films? The Metamatic-like work of Jonathan Barnbrook, and Macoto Tezka's ambient, dreamy last monthand encompasses Opex Group, Stanco,ExpoSystems, Excel Invision and EAG. Thenewly combined group aims to create a unifiedevent and exhibition services company for theUK and global market. Former EAG chief Steve Barratt has taken thehelm as CEO, working alongside current Opexchief operating officer, Paul Slaney. Thecompanies will be rebranded into a single entityshortly as part of a strategic review. "Our plan is to transform the industry and giveour venue and organiser customers a completerange of services and coverage," Barratt said.Market dynamicsOne immediate question is whether acombined Opex/Stanco/EAG can snatchmarket share from the industry's largestcontractor, Melville. Some speculate it could infact become a more attractive subject fortakeover by Melville's parent, GES. Melville MD Nick Marshall saw the merger asa positive step forward for the industry, but onethat is unlikely to significantly change hiscompany's strategy or market conditions. "To have two stronger competitors who areboth striving to create a better service offeringmust be a good thing," Marshall said. "I don'tbelieve it really changes the playing field forMelville. Opex/Stanco was a sizable competitorbefore the merger and, in theory, quite capableof competing with Melville on most organiserportfolios. We have made significantinvestments in our client services over the past18 months and have been able to add value toour clients' business." GES-owned Melville has commenced on anorganic growth strategy and set-up a Middle Eastbusiness off the back of a services contract inAbu Dhabi. It is also working more closely withsister companies SDD and GES Germany. "We are aiming to consolidate our position asmarket leader in the UK while developing theproportion of revenues that derive fromoverseas," Marshall said.According to Event Supplier and ServicesAssociation (ESSA) director Chris Skeith, theramifications of the Opex/EAG merger on otherplayers in the market would take several monthsto materialise."How it will affect other contractors is difficultto predict at this time," he claimed. One potential outcome from the reduction intop-tier players is that smaller contractors willbe given more opportunity to get on theorganiser's playbill as a third option. This iscertainly the opinion of medium-sizedcontractor Moyne."Just a couple of years ago, we had fourcompetitors - Opex, Stanco, Melville and EarlyAction Group - and wouldn't have been invitedto quote for jobs. Now there's only two,organisers will be looking for a third choice,"Moyne MD Henry Scimia said. "For contractorsbig enough like us, with the right set-up whocan do everything in-house, it's good news."Scimia pointed out contractor pricing couldeven increase."I have seen examples of US contractorscharging US$110 per square metre, whereas inthe UK I've seen it as low as £6 per squaremetre. That's because the competition isn'tthere anymore. This price level isn't sustainableand if a price war breaks out between the newlymerged Opex/Stanco/EAG and Melville it willdrive one of them out of business."Global coverageWhatever the local outcome, global businessis a key goal for the newly combined group. "As our clients geoclone shows, we willgeoclone our services offering," Barratt said. Skeith agreed taking a local and global focuswas increasingly important to contractors andpointed out ESSA forged links with theInternational Federation of Event Services andthe Exhibit Designers and ProducersAssociation to promote and serve membersbetter internationally. "We are increasingly talking to UK-basedorganisers who are running shows around theworld and conversely, dealing with inboundenquires from other parts of the GES GlobalNetwork," Melville's Marshall continued. "I seethis becoming more important as theglobalisation of world markets continues."Longer-term impactThe Opex/EAG deal is being financed withworking capital as well by Octopus Capital. Barratthoped to retain the majority of its 300 staff. Barratt said further acquisitions are planned.In contrast, Melville's short-term strategy is tokeep focusing on organic growth."We have no immediate plans to acquire butinstead are looking at strategic relationshipswith specialist partners," Marshall said. ESSA's Skeith claimed Opex/EAG couldtrigger other mergers and acquisitions. "It seems reasonable that companies willcome together in a number of ways and inpartnership to deliver enhanced services and towin new business," he concluded. ENNews of Opex/Stanco's merger with Early Action Group raises questionsabout the current and future state of the contractors market. NadiaCameronlooks at the deal and its potential impact. Market gamechanger?10MARCH 2011EXHIBITIONNEWS.CO.UK