By Barbra Murray
Blackstone has acquired Clarion Events, an independent, international events organizer headquartered in London. Private equity funds managed by the global investment firm purchased the company from private funds managed by Providence Equity Partners.
Blackstone isn’t divulging the financial particulars of the transaction. Clarion last changed hands in 2015 for approximately £200 million, according to a report by investment bank JEGI, when Providence acquired 100 percent interest in the company.
Established in 1947, Clarion is a top competitor in the independent event organizers arena, boasting roughly 950 employees in 13 offices across the globe. “Clarion’s leading position in its markets combined with its strong management team will enable the company to continue growing both organically and through M&A,” Lionel Assant, head of European Private Equity with Blackstone, said in a prepared statement.
Clarion provides marketing, networking, and information solutions in a handful of high-value vertical markets, including retail & home, gaming, defense & security, technology and energy. The company operates more than 180 exhibitions spanning 50 countries.
Blackstone could have a partner at Clarion. The transaction includes an option for Clarion to reinvest part of the disposition proceeds into the events company.
NOT JUST WINDOW SHOPPING
Blackstone appears to be on a shopping spree. The company kicked off the summer in June with the announcement of an equity investment in Ascenty, Brazil’s top data center & telecom services provider. Later in the month, came a $630 million deal to purchase a majority interest in The Office Group, a provider of design-led flexible workspace at buildings located predominantly in London. And most recently, Blackstone entered into a definitive agreement to acquire International Market Centers, the world’s largest owner and operator of premier showroom space for the furnishings, home decor and gift industries in the U.S.
“We do get presented with acquisition opportunities constantly,” Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman said during the company’s first quarter 2017 earnings investor call in April. “I look at it and say it’s always great to have the fire power to do whatever comes your way that’s truly compelling.”