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GLM to be acquired by Providence Equity Partners

George Little Management (GLM) and Providence Equity Partners (Providence) have announced that GLM and affiliates of Providence have signed a definitive merger agreement. Under this agreement, affiliates of Providence will acquire GLM from Daily Mail and General Trust for approximately $173 million in cash.

GLM creates face-to-face and online buying, selling and networking platforms for designers, product developers, manufacturers, reps, retailers and operators through tradeshow and event production, online community development and association management. GLM currently produces 15 tradeshows, serving industries such as giftware, home furnishings, social stationery, home textiles, tabletop, gourmet housewares, contemporary furniture, personal care, art & design, antique jewelry, beach, board sports, fashion and hospitality. Annually, these events showcase approximately 11,000 exhibitors in 1.8 million net square feet of exhibit space, and attract approximately 150,000 attendees.

“This is a compelling transaction that will allow GLM to benefit from the additional resources and expertise provided by Providence as we seek to further expand our product offerings and accelerate growth,” said Alan E. Steel, president of GLM. “We look forward to working with Providence in the future.”

Providence will purchase GLM through a new holding company led by Charles G. McCurdy, who most recently served as chief executive officer of Canon Communications, a leading producer of tradeshows, publications, and digital and data services. In five years under McCurdy’s management, Canon doubled in size, expanding its tradeshows into 10 countries and developing a significant suite of digital and data services.

“GLM has a proven track record in exceeding the expectations of exhibitors and attendees with high-quality, customer-focused events,” said Michael J. Dominguez, a managing director at Providence. “We believe there are significant opportunities to grow GLM’s tradeshow brands in the U.S. and internationally both organically and through acquisition, as well as to develop exciting new digital and data services. The company already has a talented senior management team. This will be further strengthened with additional direction from Charlie, who has more than 30 years of experience in managing and investing in niche media, information and education companies.”

The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, is expected to close by the end of September 2011.

“I’m thrilled to partner with Providence as it acquires this top tier, world-class company,” said McCurdy. “GLM’s presence in the growing business-to-retailer space has few rivals in the international tradeshow industry. With the help of Providence and the dedicated GLM team, we will seek to take GLM to the next level while identifying additional opportunities to expand our platform in the dynamic tradeshow space.”

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