The number of mergers and acquisitions taking place in the exhibition and meeting industry has declined by 23 percent, says a report from investment bank JEGI, which also notes that merger and acquisition activity in other industries is much higher. In 2016, the meeting and exhibition industry saw 66 transactions with a total value of $3.3 billion, compared to 2015 when there were 86 deals valued at $3.7 billion. Though the number of deals fell precipitously, the strong deal value figures were driven by a number of high-profile acquisitions in 2016 including Intel’s acquisition of event service provider VOKE for $160 million, the UBM acquisition of trade show organizer Allworld Exhibitions Alliance for $485 million, and the acquisition of Connect Meetings by Taurus Group for an undisclosed sum. Another sizeable transaction affecting the meetings and event industry in 2016 was Vista Equity Partner’s acquisition of CVENT for $1.65 billion.
In general, JEGI uses the number and value of transactions as a barometer for consumer and business confidence. Media, information, marketing, and software and tech-enabled services sectors showed the most robust activity among the industries measured, with a total of 2,157 transactions between them. Those acquisitions and mergers had a value of $218.9 billion, which was 44 percent higher than the valuation of $152.3 billion in 2015. The largest purchase in 2015 was Microsoft’s buyout of LinkedIn for $29.3 billion, with data and software company transactions accounting for the majority of the remaining top 20 acquisitions.