The global business of fashion fairs has accelerated their concentration in recent years, but it hasn’t been until 2018 when the biggest M&As have taken place in the sector with the entrance of two huge players: Informa and ITE Group.
During the last twelve months, two of the biggest M&As in the history of fashion fairs were concluded. One of them was the acquisition of UBM’s fashion portfolio (a ferial organisations’ giant) by the international titan Informa. In the United Kingdom, ITE Group, owner of Scoop, Bubble London, Moda and Jacket Required, acquired Pure London and grouped under a same umbrella all professional events of the sector.
UBM has had a fleeting experience in the fashion ferial business. The British company, specialised in the organisation of fair events, took its first step in the fashion ambit in 2014 with the acquisition of Advanstar, property of Magi Las Vegas, the biggest event of the sector celebrated in the United States, but also the main footwear show of the country, FN Platform, and Enk International, organiser altogether of small sized shows in New York like for instance, Coterie. The operation ascended up to 972 million dollars.
Two years later, UBM acquired Business Journals, another huge organiser of fairs, owner of shows with lesser sizes, but with a long history, like Mrket, Accessories The Show, Edit, Fame, Moda and Stitch. This second purchase ascended up to 69 million dollars. Two years after the reordering and optimisation of the fair calendar, UBM sold all its portfolio to Informa last June for a price of 3.9 billion dollars.
Informa, one of the biggest groups specialised in the organisation of fairs, paid 3.9 billion dollars for the fashion fairs division of UBM
During the second half of the year, Informa made the first changes in the new ferial package and changed the name of its show in Japan, Magic Tokyo, into Project Tokyo. The group also announced a fifteen million dollar investment in its new fashion shows division for the next three years.
ITE Group, for its part, took control of Ascential’s portfolio of fairs in May. The mediatic platform, controlled by the Apax fund and Guardian Media Group, sold out Pure London in order to focus on its digital business, among which stand the trend firm Wgsn. Ascential finally concluded the sale of Pure London for 200 million pounds. The British fashion fair, the biggest in the country in this category, broadened its offer in 2018 with the incorporation of Pure Origin, an area dedicated to sourcing.
Now, under the baton of ITE Group, there will be traced new synergies between the different shows. Thus, in Pure London’s February edition, there will be for the first time included a children’s fashion offer in collaboration with Bubble London, which closed down last June. On the other hand, there will be stablished a transfer to unite the show with Scoop and Jacket Required.
Informa changed the name of its event in Japan, Magic Tokyo, and named it Project Tokyo
New fair holdings
In Berlin, Premium Exhibition was acquired by British Clarion Events at the beginning of the year. Premium Exhibition had enlarged its size during recent years by force of the check book and purchasing other fashion shows in Germany, among them: Show&Order, Seek, Bright and FashionTech. Clarion Events took control of the German fair organiser through the acquisition of shares it owned in Waterland Private Equity, present in the Premium shareholding ever since 2005, as well as the shares owned by the company’s co-founder, Florian Bachelin. Anita Tillmann, the other co-founder of the company.
Some time later, in September, Premium Exhibitions took a stake in the United States company Liberty Fairs, owner of Capsule and Cabana, under the purpose of putting Berlin and New York closer together. This movement was produced some months after Libery Fairs acquired Capsule, which since 2014 was controlled by Reed Exhibitions. Also in Germany, Panorama made a move and acquired the urbanwear show Sevedge Run with its sight set on increasing the offer and addressing a larger number of audience. Both fairs, which had already coordinated dates and united spaces, materialised their merge with this operation.
Two other eco fairs in Berlin consolidated their merge too: Ethical Fashion Show and Greenshowroom, both property of Messe Frankfurt. After next January, both fairs will unify their offer under one same name, Neonyt.
In September, Premium Exhibitions took a stake in the United States organiser Liberty Fairs, owner of Capsule and Cabana
In the ambit of textile machinery, Messe Frankfurt enlarged its portfolio of fairs through the acquisition of the United States Clean Show, which takes place in New Orleans. With this operation, the German organiser of fairs broadened its influence over the American market and reinforced its division of Texcare shows, specialised in systems, processes and technologies for garment industry’s finishes.
On the other hand, there were also steps back. One of the most significant ones was the closure of Bread&Butter by part of Zalando. Three years after purchasing it and turning it into a fashion, gastronomical and music festival, the German e-commerce group decided to put an end to it. The company’s CEO, David Schneider, explained that they had reached the limit with the event and that they would not continue with it.
The Parisian Who’s Next, for its part, turned its offer up a notch and simplified its structure with the absorption of the edition in Porte de Versailles of the complements and accessories show Permière Classe with the objective of preserving only the edition celebrated in the Jardin des Tuileries coinciding with fashion week.
Lastly, the fair that has also taken some steps back this year has been the luxury jewellery and watches giant Baselworld. Ever since it surpassed the figure of 2,000 exhibitors in 2011, the Basilea (Switzerland) show has lost sizes to the point of gathering 1,300 participants. However, the blow this year was given by the conglomerate Swatch, after announcing its departure from the show.
Maurice Lacroix was also one of the sector’s top-guns to leave the show behind. Part of these decisions are related to the change of leadership that the fair has undergone: Sylvie Ritter, a historic character at the front of the show, stepped down from her position.