Emerald X, the large trade show and media company, has acquired the cannabis-industry media business MJBiz for $120 million in cash, plus potential earnouts.
The acquisition includes MJBizCon, the oldest and largest trade show in the industry, as well as related publications MJBizDaily, Hemp Industry Daily and MJBizMagazine. It also includes the Emerald Conference, a cannabis-science event that MJBiz acquired in 2020.
The addition of MJBiz supports Emerald’s objective of year-round customer engagement, while also expanding into one of the highest growth business sectors in North America, the company said in a press statement.
MJBiz’s management team, including CEO Chris Walsh, SVP of events and sales Jess Tyler, and SVP of content and audience development Pam Moore, will stay on.
“This is a transformational acquisition for Emerald as it represents an important next step in the implementation of our strategic initiatives and underscores our commitment to evolve and grow our customers’ businesses 365 days a year,” Emerald CEO Hervé Sedky said. “We have long admired MJBiz’s sterling reputation for being the most trusted event and content producer serving the business side of the cannabis and hemp industries and their respective participants.”
MJBiz was founded in 2011. It generated $27 million in revenue in 2021 and delivered a compound annual growth in revenue of 38% in the three years prior to the pandemic (2017-2019). In October, the MJBizCon trade show had more than 1,200 exhibiting companies and 27,000 attendees, including over 18,000 paid registrations.
This transaction reflects the increasing mainstream status of the cannabis industry.
“Our organization has experienced massive growth since its inception,” said Cassandra Farrington, MJBiz cofounder and chairwoman of its board. “Integrating with a larger organization provides the resources and channels to unlock the next phase of MJBiz’s growth. We chose Emerald because they clearly value the unique aspects of our brand and are committed to serving the industry’s expansion.”
For its part, Emerald, formerly known as Emerald Expositions, produces over 140 events annually, including in the home electronics, photo and video, retail and marketing industries, among others. It generated $104 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2021, a 9.4% decline from the same period in 2020. It produced $9.4 million in the third quarter, compared to a loss of $3.2 million in 2020.
The company’s stock was trading on the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday morning at around $4.15, well off its 2021 high of $7.14, which it hit in March.