November 23, 2020

Showing off: Exhibitions firm ITE grabs Ascential’s events arm for £300m

Business exhibition and conference firm ITE Group tried to mask sliding profits in its half-year results today, as it announced the £300m acquisition of Ascential's events arm.

ITE scooped up the portfolio of seven brands, which include global exhibition names Bett and CWIEME and UK brands such as the Spring and Autumn Fairs and Pure.

The firm plans to fund the deal through a fully underwritten rights issue, raising up to £315m.

Read more: Non-Ascential items: B2B publisher sells 11 titles including Drapers, Nursing Times and Construction News

"This acquisition accelerates our strategy of becoming product-led and building a portfolio of content-driven, must-attend events regardless of geography," said ITE's chief executive Mark Shashoua.

"A number of our senior management team, including myself, know these assets extremely well and see a clear opportunity to drive cost synergies, and provide the investment, operational rigour and international platform required to drive growth."

Last year, the Ascential brands generated revenues of £77.5m. ITE said they would diversify its position into education technology and coil winding, electric motor and transformer manufacturing technologies, which it believed were markets supported by "structural growth drivers".

Yet ITE's shares ended the day down almost six per cent.

The group has been actively managing its events portfolio over the last year, separating the brands within it into core and non-core categories. In its last financial year it discontinued 37 of the non-core events, and has axed another 22 in the first half of its 2018 financial year.

Read more: FTSE 100 firm Informa in talks to buy London events rival UBM in £3bn deal

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