Blackstone Buying Urban Parent Clarion

Weeks after buying IMC, the private equity firm is now acquiring additional gifts shows with this purchase.

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U.K.-based Clarion Events, parent company of Urban Expositions, has been acquired by private equity firm Blackstone. Earlier this month, Blackstone said it would buy International Market Centers (IMC), a deal set to be finalized in the third quarter of this year. In June, Blackstone also entered into an agreement to buy Hong Kong-based Global Sources which has several sourcing shows, among others events.

The combined deals give Blackstone a strong position in the American gift and home trade show business.

In a report in Trade Show News Network, Lionel Assant, head of European Private Equity at Blackstone said, “We are delighted to invest in Clarion and back chairman Simon Kimble and CEO Russell Wilcox in the company’s next chapter. Clarion’s leading position in its markets combined with its strong management team will enable the company to continue growing both organically and through M&A.”

Clarion purchased Urban Expositions in September 2015, and with the deal, its network of retail and home events, including the Seattle Gift Show, Philadelphia Gift Show and the California Marketplace Temporaries, among others. According to Trade Show News Network, Clarion hosts 180 events annually, employs nearly 1,000 people and draws more than one million visitors to its exhibitions each year.

An Urban Expositions spokesperson said the company had no immediate comment.

urban expo

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Lenise Willis, editor in chief; Anne-Marie Earl, managing editor; Cammie Collier, art director; and Brianna Glenn, assistant editor, love reviewing new products for Gifts and Decorative Accessories . The team stays on top of the latest trends in bath and body, candles, gourmet items, stationery, home décor, fashion and more, and love chatting about their latest finds. Check in each week for more of their latest picks on GiftRap, and see more of the team on their new bi-weekly video series, Thoughts That Count.

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