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exhibition news news6 maY 2011 embarks on new acquisitions strategyCloserStill Media has launched a £3m investment arm and made its first two acquisitions.Closer2 is being funding by the existing CloserStill management team and private equity firm NVM and is on the hunt for acquisitions that diversify the organiser's show portfolio. CloserStill MD Andy Center told EN the new division will initially focus on smaller UK-based organisers in fast-growing markets that offer scale opportunities. The first acquisition is Biofuels Media, which operates the annual European Bioenergy Expo and Conference (EBEC) at Stoneleigh Park as well as an information portal for the renewable energies market. Biofuels' three staff will move BPA publishes first event brand reportGlobal auditor of media channels BPA Worldwide has published what it claims is the first ever brand report to revolve around an exhibition.The report, which covers organiser Imago Techmedia's IP Expo 2010, details attendance at the London-based exhibition as well as traffic to its two websites, delivery of promotional emails and e-newsletters and its interaction in several social media groups. BPA claims this kind of report will allow exhibition and event organisers to better monetise its consumer information across the multiple media platforms, as well as allow media buyers to see the potential worth in extending their brand awareness alongside the IP Expo brand."Given the competition for exhibitor revenue, it is not difficult to appreciate the value of reporting a brand's entire impact in its marketplace," MD of BPA EMEA Stuart Wilkinson said. "Media owners use multiple platforms and media buyers need a better understanding and identification of all touch-points their brand has with consumers. IP Expo 2010 is an IT infrastructure event held annually at Earls Court every October."We believe this report will help our exhibitors and sponsors thoroughly determine the depth and scope of our exhibition," Imago senior marketing manager Sian Sparkes said. "It enables them to evaluate which of the event's supporting channels can help achieve their marketing and communication objectives."across and its former principal Richard Price will now oversee the newly created Closer2 Alternative Energy division as a shareholder. Alongside EBEC, Closer2 will launch two new sister events: Microgen, which focuses on renewable energy such as solar and photo voltaic; and Nextgen, an exhibition aimed at supporting renewable energy development. The co-located shows will run at Stoneleigh this October. Closer2's second acquisition is Red Publishing, a small UK business operating two exhibitions dedicated to the emerging cloud computing market. Its owner, Maggie Meer, will join as a shareholder and run day-to-day operations supported by CloserStill partner Phil Nelson. "Phil and I have 20 years in technology and related cutting-edge sectors," Center said. "We built and ran the leading event for the last wave - the Internet - and we plan to try and do the same for the next wave, which most observers believe is cloud computing."Cloud is a fast-growing market and there's no de facto industry standard event yet. We think Maggie's combination of market knowledge and experience, with our resources and capital, will deliver that."The 2012 Cloud Expo Europe runs at Olympia in February and features an exhibition and conference. Closer2 will also launch a separately branded mobile cloud area at the next show. Financial details of both acquisitions have not been disclosed. Center said Closer2's strategy is to forge a new and strategic path into markets beyond its traditional business. This could include the UK and abroad."We want to find small businesses, launches and partnerships with entrepreneurs we can grow quickly and get scale from," Center continued. "We have doubled the Pharmacy and Dentistry Shows, and our London VET Show has gone from zero to £1.5m in two years, while learning technologies have also shown remarkable growth."Things have been tough for many organisers but if you have cash to invest, you can find some great value acquisitions. The other thing with the exhibition market is that there are a few giants but lots of minnows which we can help scale and add asset value to."

news EXHIBITION NEWSEXHIBITIONNEWS.CO.UK MAY 2011 7Exhibition organiser Centaur Media has acquired expatriate information and events business, The Forum for Expatriate Management Ltd (FEM), for £2.5m.The company is based predominantly in the UK and runs a web-based community of HR professionals responsible for managing expatriates within international corporates. FEM also organises exhibitions and regional networking events for its international membership of 5,500 professionals and suppliers. The business runs two major events in the UK and two in the US, in addition to many smaller regional events run through local chapters.FEM's two vendors, Brian Friedman and Nigel Ayres, will remain with the business and all FEM staff will relocate to Centaur offi ces in London. The fi nal purchase price is subject to FEM's profi ts in the 12 months ending June 2013 and is capped at £6.75m. In the year to 31 December 2010, the company generated £1m in revenue and pre-tax earnings of £400,000."FEM serves a community which is closely linked to that of compensation and benefi ts professionals, which is a core market for Centaur," Centaur CEO Geoff Wilmot said. "There are further synergies with our portfolio of business travel shows." Friedman said joining Centaur would provide the infrastructure to grow existing activities.London Mayor Boris Johnson has launched London and Partners, the city's new promotional body. London and Partners brings together Visit London, Think London and Study London, which were previously responsible for bringing tourism, investment and international students respectively. The new organisation will promote both leisure and business tourism, foreign investment and business growth as well as attracting major events, conferences, exhibitions and international students. The board, headed by interim chair Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas, includes Excel CEO Kevin Murphy.Centaur buys expat and HR event businessNEC announces £120m event complex plansReport: Trade show recovery ahead of consumer eventsA new report on UK events suggests recovery is underway for UK trade shows while the decline of consumer events continues.The Facts 2011 report, compiled and written by Vivid Interface using information from 650 UK events, found UK trade events have almost arrested their annual decline and reported a 1.4 per cent attendance dip in 2010 compared to 8.2 per cent in 2009. Trade events that provided Vivid with fi gures on gross hall space booked at exhibition venues also showed organisers booked 5.8 per cent less space on average in 2010, compared to 8.5 per cent less space the previous year.However, net hall space booked at trade events increased 7.1 per cent in 2010, an indication of more economic use of hall space.The consumer sector fared slightly worse, with attendance decline falling to 3.6 per cent from 2.9 per cent in 2009. However, gross hall space booked at consumer events did improve, reducing its decline from 4.2 to 1.5 per cent."When examining our statistics and arriving at The NEC Group hopes to have a new £120m entertainment complex open under its management by the end of 2013 after unveiling plans at the LG Arena.NEC Group chief executive Paul Thandi showcased the plans, in conjunction with Genting Casinos' Resorts World, to develop land between the LG Arena and the Crowne Plaza Hotel during a special briefi ng last month. Subject to planning permission and a 'large' casino licence from Solihull Council, it is looking 3.6% Year-on-year decline in consumer show visitorsany conclusions, it is essential to focus on like-for-like numbers," Vivid Interface MD, Geoffrey Dixon said. "In other words, to look at events which ran in both 2009 and 2010 and which have provided historically reliable information." According to Dixon, these fi gures apply to more than 300 events encompassing almost per cent year-on-year compared to 0.7 per cent.all the largest events. The average number of exhibiting companies at trade shows increased two consumer shows, which declined by Check out Phil Soar's analysis on The Facts 2011 research on page 21London's new promotional body unveiledto build a seven-storey, 55,000sqm Resorts World entertainment complex including a conference centre and banqueting facilities.NEC Group chief operating offi cer John Hornby said the proposed conference venue would hold up to 1,000 for dinners and 600 delegates for a fl at fl oor event. A council decision is expected at the end of May after local elections. "The new entertainment complex project will drive us back into the profi le where we used to be: The No.1 destination for exhibitions and conferences in Europe," Thandi said. The new conference and banqueting centre will also be able to house awards and banqueting events that are exhibition-led and not just those led by the International Convention Centre in the centre of Birmingham, Thandi said. A four or fi ve-star hotel and spa is also in the works.Thandi said casino operator Genting's £120m investment followed £29m already spent on the LG Arena and claimed the venue was now "the second most competitive arena in the UK after The O2". The casino planning permission and licence, Thandi noted, represented the third stage of development and would enable The NEC to become a 24/365 destination.