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Onex in $950-million deal for trade show operator

The Onex Corp. logo is displayed at the company's annual general meeting in Toronto on Thursday, May 10, 2012.


Onex Corp. is taking over a U.S. trade show operator in a $950-million (U.S.) cash deal.

Toronto-based private equity firm Onex said on Monday it has agreed to acquire Nielsen Expositions from its parent, an affiliate of Nielsen Holdings NV.

Nielsen Expositions is a major operator of business-to-business trade shows in the United States in nine different markets, including general merchandise, sports, hospitality and retail design, jewellery and photography.

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"Nielsen Expositions' strength in the U.S. business-to-business trade show industry is evidenced by its high renewal rates, long-standing exhibitor relationships, and the brand strength of the underlying shows," Onex managing director Kosty Gilis said in a news release.

"This is a great opportunity to partner with David [Loechner, president of Nielsen Expositions] and his management team to build on the company's market leadership position through continued expansion of its existing shows as well as select acquisitions."

Onex said its $4.7-billion private equity fund Onex Partners III will make an equity investment of about $350-million, of which Onex' share is about $85-million as a limited partner in the fund.

Nielsen is based in San Capistrano, Calif. and stages more than 65 trade shows and conferences every year. It has about 240 employees and last year pulled in about $183-million in revenue and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $97-million.

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