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M& 15DEALMAKERSIn his final column for 2011, Steve Monnington wraps up the year in mergers and acquisitions and outlines his predictions for activity in 2012t has been a quiet month for acquisitions with only Reed Exhibitions' active with the acquisition of Business Travel Market, a London-based exhibition launched in 2009 by Paul Robin. So given this circumstance and the time of year, it seemed a good moment to look back on what has happened during 2011. In this column at the end of 2010 I predicted some things that happened and some that didn't. Firstly, I expected continued investment in Brazil and Turkey with new players entering both markets. In Brazil, Reed, Informa and Fiera Milano all made sizeable acquisitions and Turkey also didn't disappoint with acquisitions by ITE and Tarsus Group. For Informa and Tarsus, these were game-changing deals for their presence in these respective territories and will lay the foundation for both organic and acquisition-related growth.I also expected multiples to continue to rise and this came to pass. However, a number of organisers have expressed concern that the recent high multiples paid, particularly in Brazil, have overheated the market and resulted in unrealistic price expectations from some of the smaller local organisers. I also predicted the start of acquisition activity in Mexico, other parts of Latin America and Africa and this hasn't happened - at least not yet. Overall in 2011 there were 43 exhibition transactions in 12 countries by 29 different purchasers. As well as Brazil and Turkey there were deals in the UK, USA, France, Germany, Spain, Russia, Hong Kong, Australia and India as well as a couple in South East Asia. When it comes to purchasers, we are used to seeing the 'usual suspects' such as Reed, UBM, Informa and Clarion. In contrast, this year was most notable for the number and diversity of purchasers, with several of the small and medium-sized organisers particularly active. This clearly demonstrates how acquisitions have become much more strategic. In the UK, there were 14 transactions involving companies such as CloserStill Media (with three separate transactions), Diversified Business Communications, William Reed Business Media, Centaur, Brintex and Montgomery. The business that received most headlines was UBM's acquisition of Ecobuild and its promise of a 'geocloning' strategy.The most active sector was energy. Reed acquired All Energy in the UK and Multiplus and Santos Offshore in Brazil while Clarion acquired European-based conference Energynet and CloserStill Media acquired the UK-based Biofuels Media.Activity in Asia was fairly muted, with UBM Asia the most active following a couple of small acquisitions in India and one in South East Asia. So what can we look forward to for 2012? I expect the geographical spread of deals and the range of buyers to be more or less the same as it was in 2011. The high level of acquisition activity in Turkey will continue and there will be ongoing interest in Brazil, albeit at a lower level. But I'm not going to stick my neck out again on other parts of Latin America - I think this is a longer process.Asia should start to see more acquisition activity with countries such as Indonesia and South Korea joining Hong Kong, Singapore and China and there should also be a rising interest in the African continent, starting with South Africa.I'm always asked - but what about the mega-deals? This is the hardest area to predict. However there is a lot of private equity money around looking for a home so we should see some action in this area.- Steve Monnington is the MD of Mayfield Media Strategies. I