Hg's events buy and build pays off

The UK mid-market firm has sold event company Clarion Events having made eight bolt-on acquisitions for the company in pursuit of international expansion.

HgCapital has sold Clarion Events to Veronis Suhler Stevenson for £120.5 million (€160 million; $235.8 million).

The sale chrystalises a 34 percent internal rate of return since October 2004. HgCapital bought Clarion in October 2004 from property group Earls Court & Olympia for £45 million.

HgCapital made eight bolt-on acquisitions for the company.

Revenues grew from £30 million to £53 million during HgCapital’s ownership and the number of events and exhibitions organised by the company has more than doubled increasing from 30 to 65. The business employs 185 people up from 120. It is the biggest independent exhibition and events business in the UK.

Its events include the Olympia International Horse of the Year Show, The International Casino Exhibition and The Fine Art & Antiques Fair.

Under HgCapital Clarion has also expanded internationally organising events in 14 countries and opening a US office.

The sale is HgCapital’s second exit this year and its eighth transaction since August 2007 underlining the resilience of the mid-market despite the problems in global credit markets.

The firm made a 5 times return from the sale of Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden in January for £75 million.