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Informa Acquires Trade Show Rival Tarsus for $940 Million

Skift Take

Informa, the world's largest trade show organizer, is acquiring Tarsus, a well-respected competitor. The move will add 160 events and media properties to Informa's portfolio. It will also strengthen its position in China as it prepares for a full return to in-person events in 2024.

UK-based Informa, the world’s largest trade show organizer, announced on Thursday it is acquiring the Tarsus Group in a $940 million deal, marking a major rollup for the industry.

The deal is funded with cash and $210 millon of new Informa shares. Informa’s stock jumped up by 3 percent on the London Stock Exchange following the announcement.

RX (formerly Reed Exhibitions) is Informa’s closest competitor in terms of revenue.

Mark Temple-Smith, currently Informa Markets chief operating officer, and formerly the CEO of Asia for Tarsus, will step in as CEO of Tarsus. Emslie will become a senior advisor to Informa.

Tarsus, also based in the UK, was founded in 1998 and was acquired 21 years later by Charterhouse Capital Partners. In 2021, it reported statutory revenue of $106 millon, statutory loss before tax of $92 millon and gross assets of $1,037 million.

”We have long admired the Tarsus business which, like Informa, has been built around major brands in attractive, specialist B2B markets in the growing regions of Asia, China, the Middle East and the Americas,” said Informa Group CEO Stephen A. Carter.

Tarsus’ Portfolio

Tarsus operates more than 160 trade shows and media in a number of industries, including travel, where it owns the Connect, BizBash and Trade Show News Network brands. It has launched 24 new events and made 11 targeted since 2019.

Several of Tarsus events, including the Dubai Airshow, run every two years on odd years. This meant that they skipped the first Covid pandemic lockdown in 2020 and were able to run reduced shows in 2021. The company is seeing strong demand for these shows for 2023.

Informa sees Tarsus’ portfolio of events as highly complementary that extends its reach in Asia, China, the Middle East and the Americas.

Informa also stands to benefit from Tarsus’ first-party data. An estimated marketable audience of 1.4 million now added to Informa’s data set. This includes more than half a million attendees and 8,350 exhibitors.

”I am extremely proud of the Tarsus business, our people and our customers. I could not think of a better partner than Informa to lead our brands and colleagues through the next phase of growth and expansion,” said Tarsus CEO Douglas Emslie.

Informa has plans to rapidly merge the operations of the two companies with a full integration targeted for January 2024.

Informa 2022 Financial Results

Informa also released Thursday its 2022 full-year results revealing a strong performance in 2022 and a bullish outlook towards 2023 and beyond.

Highlights for 2022 include revenue of $2,835 million (£2,389.3 millon) and adjusted operating profit of $635 million (£535 millon) as well as underlying revenue growth of 31.4 percent and underlying adjusted operating profit growth of 47.0 percent.

Guidance for 2023 is $3,264 to $3,383 (£2,750 million to £2,850 millon) in revenue and adjusted operating profit of $801 million $860 million (£675 million to £725 million). This guidance includes a six-month contribution from Tarsus.

The continuing return of major brands to its shows, along with smart technology and data capture and partnerships in the US and Saudi Arabia are significant growth drivers.

Informa Markets, the group’s B2B events business, is expecting a strong 2023 performance based on forward bookings. China accounts for around 20 percent of revenue. With the country reopning, events are possible in 2023 and 2024 should bring a full return.

The company’s investment in first-party data continues through its B2B customer data engine, IIRIS. Around 90 percent of the group’s portfolio intergrates with the system which has tracked over 1.8 billion online interactions and built a total known, engaged and marketable audience of over 15 million users.

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