Convene, a New York-based hybrid meeting, event, and workspace provider, has completed its recapitalization plan. The plan was backed by an investment led by HBC, owner of Canadian retail business Hudson’s Bay Company, and Ares Management Corp’s private equity group. No financial terms were disclosed. Convene will join SaksWorks, an affiliate of HBC brand Saks, with HBC becoming the majority owner of the combined entity.
April 12, 2022
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Convene, the leading hybrid meeting, event, and workspace provider, announced today that it has completed its recapitalization plan, led by HBC, a holding company at the intersection of real estate, technology and retail, and a fund managed by the Private Equity Group of Ares Management Corporation (“Ares”) (NYSE: ARES), a leading global alternative investment manager.
Convene will operate HBC’s existing portfolio of flexible work, event, restaurant and meeting spaces, which are expected to be rebranded as Convene and will remain branded as SaksWorks in the interim. HBC will be the majority owner of the combined entity, with 26 facilities under management and dozens more under development, which is expected to be the largest premium flex space operator across the US, Canada and Europe.
“We built Convene with a mission of elevating the workday experience. This strategic investment by HBC and Ares provides instant scale and growth opportunities for our business. We are excited to partner with HBC who is equally focused on delivering premium and flexible experiences to enable today’s distributed workforce,” said Ryan Simonetti, co-founder and CEO of Convene. “As organizations continue to embrace hybrid work and are demanding higher quality environments in which to gather, we are well-positioned to seize this moment.”
Convene combines design, technology, and hospitality to deliver elevated meeting and event spaces that enable business productivity and collaboration. Convene Studio, a proprietary virtual and hybrid events platform, can be added to any Convene or third-party location venue to enable seamless, secure, hybrid, and virtual meetings for up to 10,000 virtual attendees, including full production services.
Convene’s signature award-winning hospitality delivers a human touch in both the physical and virtual worlds. A team of dedicated on-site professionals welcome each guest and offer in-house assistance with everything from catering to IT/AV support, to ensure workday experiences are effortless and personalized. Alongside unlimited craft snacks, tea and barista coffee, Convene’s Head Chefs develop seasonal menus to replenish creative energy in every one of our locations.
With the investment from HBC and Ares, Convene’s future expansion will focus on locations in key urban and suburban markets. As businesses are reimagining their office footprint and hybrid workforce strategies, commercial real estate landlords are also re-thinking what is required to stay competitive in today’s dynamic marketplace. Sought-after amenities such as coworking options, on-site culinary offerings, premium and elevated meeting and event venues, and hybrid technology that were once thought of as “nice to have” are now a “must have”. Convene is well-poised to bring this fully operationalized solution to a wide variety of commercial real estate partners across the globe.
“Ryan and his management team have a 12-year track record of building world-class destinations for hosting events, meetings, and flexible workspace,” said Hamid Hashemi, COO, HBC Properties & Investments. “We are looking forward to implementing our shared vision across parts of HBC’s real estate portfolio, including the conversion of certain of its assets into Convene locations. With this transaction, Convene will expand its footprint into suburban markets, where people can work and meet closer to home.”
“We are proud to support Ryan and the Convene team in their continued growth as they further enable the future of work through innovative spaces and experiences,” said Craig Snyder, Partner and Co-Portfolio Manager of Special Opportunities in the Ares Private Equity Group. “We believe that this transaction will help accelerate Convene’s leadership position and we look forward to being a partner to them as they execute on future opportunities.”
Convene is the leading provider of premium meeting and workday experiences with a global network of venues and flexible office locations. Combining design, technology, and hospitality to elevate today’s modern work experience, Convene creates the spaces and experiences that help teams succeed. With Studio, an all-in-one solution for digitally-enabled events, and 23 locations across the U.S. & London including meeting spaces and flexible workplaces, Convene creates your best day at work, wherever it happens. The company has been named one of America’s 100 Most Promising Companies by Forbes and a Best Workplace by both Inc. and Fortune Magazine.
HBC is a holding company of investments and businesses at the intersection of technology, retail operations, and real estate.
It is the majority owner of iconic e-commerce companies: Saks, a leading online destination for luxury fashion; The Bay, a Canadian e-commerce marketplace; and Saks OFF 5TH, a premier luxury off-price e-commerce company offering top brands at the best prices. These businesses were established as separate operating companies in 2021. HBC also wholly owns Hudson’s Bay, the operating company for Hudson’s Bay’s brick-and-mortar stores, as well as SFA, the entity that operates Saks Fifth Avenue’s physical locations, and O5, the operating company for Saks OFF 5TH stores.
With assets spanning top markets and prime locations across North America, HBC owns or controls—either entirely or with joint venture partners—approximately 40 million square feet of gross leasable area. HBC Properties and Investments, the company’s real estate and investments portfolio business manages these assets along with additional real estate offerings, including Streetworks Development, its property development division.
Founded in 1670, HBC is North America’s longest continually operating company and is headquartered in New York and Toronto. For more information visit: www.hbc.com.
About Ares Management Corporation
Ares Management Corporation (NYSE: ARES) is a leading global alternative investment manager offering clients complementary primary and secondary investment solutions across the credit, private equity, real estate and infrastructure asset classes. We seek to provide flexible capital to support businesses and create value for our stakeholders and within our communities. By collaborating across our investment groups, we aim to generate consistent and attractive investment returns throughout market cycles. As of December 31, 2021, Ares Management Corporation’s global platform had approximately 2,100 employees operating across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East and approximately $314 billion of assets under management, as adjusted for Ares Management’s acquisition of AMP Capital’s Infrastructure Debt platform which closed February 10, 2022. For more information, please visit www.aresmgmt.com.