Exhibition World Issue 2 - 2022 | Page 11


Steve Monnington Managing director Mayfield Media Strategies


ome larger organisers are seeing a shortage of

S acquisition opportunities for their M & A pipeline . However , there were still eight transactions by eight different buyers in five countries announced in the last two months , although these are all relatively small businesses . In my last column , I highlighted the emerging trend for the acquisition of businesses that are different from the traditional trade show model . The focus is starting to shift from exhibitor / visitor to tighter relationships through 1-2-1 meetings whether they are in person or online . The digital element of these is also pushing the development of an omnichannel approach to data utilisation . The acquisition by Hyve of US organiser Fintech Meetup in March continues this trend . As Covid-19 becomes something that we are learning to live with ( at least outside of China and Hong Kong ), mainstream exhibitions have now returned in force . Meanwhile , 1-2-1 events have adopted a hybrid online / in person approach – or have they ?

Fintech Meetup is an interesting case of a business following what their community wants rather than what tradition dictates . The business was launched in early 2021 by Anil Aggarwal who has a history of creating and selling technology events – Money 20 / 20 sold to Ascential and ShopTalk , Groceryshop and Retail Meetup all previously acquired by Hyve .
The launch edition of Fintech Meetup in 2021 was virtual and boasted 20,000 meetings . The second edition , which opened on 22 March , was originally planned as a physical event . However , following feedback from the community it continued as a pure virtual event .
The business is at a very early stage – 2021 revenue of US $ 1.3m and a loss of US $ 3.8m – but growth expectations are high , as evidenced by the deal structure of US $ 5m paid now and an earnout of up to US $ 50m based on results . Hyve sees several of its key opportunities for accelerating its omnichannel strategy in the fintech market , so we can expect Fintech Meetup to expand its operations using Hyve ’ s infrastructure .
The growing focus on digital events businesses is also creating
acquisition opportunities in the event tech area . Infopro Digital , one of the top 10 French technology groups , has acquired EventMaker , a French company that has created web-based software to manage physical , virtual and hybrid events . With virtual events booming during lockdown and hybrid events popular as organisers combine physical and digital , this is a crowded market , but Infopro is present in 17 countries and the potential for international expansion must have been a key factor in the sale .
Finally , anyone who is tempted to start their own events business should take inspiration from UK consumer show organiser Raccoon Events . Founded on the launch of The National Running Show , Raccoon has quickly grown through regional launches , new sectors ( outdoor , cycling , snow and horses ), geographical expansion ( Run Shows in the US ) and the start of an omnichannel business with Run Show TV and the Outside and Active digital platform . Now it has announced its first acquisition – the Snowbound festivals – acquired from Snowsports Industries America ( SIA ), a not-for-profit memberowned association for the US winter outdoor industry . Raccoon and SIA have committed to launch new Snowbound events across the US . Crucially , the move has been supported by some of the biggest brands in the snow sports industry and is one of the first examples of a Direct to Consumer model for the exhibition sector .
Transactions this period
Buyer Business Country Sector Hyve IMC Raccoon Events MCH
Messe Munich Mark Allen Group IEG
Infopro Digital
Fintech Meetup Shoppe Object Snowbound
Arts Events Singapore ( 15 % stake )
Asia Climate Forum Regen
Brasil Trading Fitness Fair
US US US Singapore
Singapore UK Brazil
Financial Home / Lifestyle Sports ( Cons ) Art
Environment Environment
Event Software
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