Events organizer UBM buys US rival Advanstar – Reuters

Reuters – Communications and events company UBM Plc said it would acquire Advanstar Communications, a privately-held trade show organizer, for $972 million in cash to increase its focus on the events business in North America.

Shares in the FTSE-250 company fell more than 3 percent on Wednesday to their lowest in more than two years. The stock has fallen about 3 percent since Reuters first reported the deal last month.

The British company, which also owns PR Newswire, said the deal would increase its events revenue by 135 million pounds from the 463 million pounds it reported for 2013.

The transaction is expected to add to earnings per share in 2015 pre-synergies and reduce debt, UBM said.

The deal will be financed through a 563-million-pound ($912 million) rights issue and a $100-million bridge facility. The rights issue is expected to be launched in November.

UBM said Advanstar’s Chief Executive Joe Loggia will continue to manage the Advanstar business within UBM and report directly to CEO Tim Cobbold during a transitional period.

Advanstar is controlled by hedge fund Anchorage Capital Group and private equity firms Ares Management LP and Veronis Suhler Stevenson. It has changed hands several times over the years between various private equity firms, including Hellman & Friedman, which sold its stake in 2000.

Advanstar operates 54 trade shows and about 100 conferences, including fashion events such as MAGIC Marketplace in Las Vegas and Fashion Coterie held in New York.

(1 US dollar = 0.6173 British pound)