Business-to-business media is still big, well, business, judging by the price tags attached to some of the big B2B publishers and events companies over the last year. In the most recent blockbuster offer, British business publisher Informa is offering £1.18 billion, or around $1.56 billion, for U.S. trade publisher, business information provider and conference organizer Penton Information Services.
Penton’s B2B and business information publishing portfolio spans agriculture, transportation, design and manufacturing, with various brands, including Aviation Week, Air Transport Observer, Business & Commercial Aviation, American Trucker, WardsAuto, American Machinist, IndustryWeek, Machine Design, The Energy Times, Farm Futures Daily, TractorLife.com, Farm Press, Corn + Soybean Digest, Nation’s Restaurant News and Beef.
Its related events and conference business consists of roughly 30 exhibitions, including the Aviation Week A&D Events, Farm Progress Show, Husker Harvest Days, Natural Products Expo, Best Plants Conference, Safety Leadership Conference, and WasteExpo, to name just a few.
For its part, Informa publishes a number of big B2B and business information titles, including Lloyd’s List, focused on maritime and shipping news; Ovum, focused on the global telecoms industry; and Citeline, covering healthcare. It also produced over 170 conference and events around the world, including the China Beauty Expo, SupplySide West, TOC Americas, and Cityscape Global.
If the merger goes ahead, the combined company will operate over 70 exhibitions in the U.S. annually, include 16 of the 250 largest conferences.
Although based in the UK, Informa already derives over half (52%) of its business information revenues from its U.S. businesses, making a tie-up with U.S.-based Penton a natural strategic alignment, with the potential for considerable cost savings. Informa also pointed to Penton’s capabilities in new and emerging areas like B2B content marketing.
Events and business information services loom large for the B2B media industry in general.
According to the Software and Information Industry Associations’s Connectiv division, total B2B revenues rose 2.7% to $28.35 billion in 2015, with events contributing the lion’s share.