This year started in much the same way as last year finished – with new acquisitions and takeovers: Blackstone-backed PSAV has bought the in-house AV company Encore Event Technologies from Freeman, Reed is taking over Mack Brooks, and there are even more deals on the horizon.
Despite – or perhaps because of – a more complex political and economic environment, there’s been a lot of interest in investing in our industry. In fact, this issue was a hot topic, both on and off stage, at our annual Global CEO Summit, which took place in London.
While big deals are driven mainly by private equity, they also create opportunities for organisers who don’t have as much capital at their disposal. Quite a few organisers have seen this excitement around the events industry as a good time to sell their business. And those organisers willing to buy are finding it easier to get financial backing from banks, based on the multiples paid in these big deals. Organisers who prefer to remain private are looking to raise money by bringing in minority shareholders.
In general, there is a sense of optimism among our industry leaders. This optimism is reflected in the results of UFI’s latest Global Barometer. The Barometer data shows that, for each period between mid-2018 and the end of 2019, a majority of companies are indicating an increase in gross turnover on a global scale. This positive outlook is particularly strong in both the Asia-Pacific region and in the Middle East/Africa respectively, where they are recording the highest levels of gross turnover for the last five years. In the Americas and Europe, however, in regions that recorded a very high increase in gross turnover in past editions of the Barometer, there are now fewer companies expecting growth to be as strong as before.
One Barometer result in particular goes to show that we will see more international activities from an ever larger share of companies in our industry: globally, a growing number of companies are looking to expand into new geographical markets all around the world. In fact, over 50% of companies from Europe stated this to be the case.
Our flagship global research now covers 19 specific markets with their respective profiles, including – for the first time – Japan, ahead of the UFI Asia-Pacific Conference, which will take place in Tokyo next month. The Barometer is one of our most essential research products to help you compare your strategies and priorities with the latest global and regional trends – with independent polls and easy-to-compare metrics. Thank you again to the 300+ companies who participated, and to the 13 exhibition industry associations who partner with us regularly on this project. It’s a prime example of the power of the global UFI community.
Blogger: Kai Hattendorf, UFI Managing Director / CEO