Advertising Week, a company that organizes trade shows, is acquired by an event company

Consulting firm Stillwell Partners LLC has sold Advertising Week, a company that organizes trade shows and educational services for marketing, media and technology professionals, to Emerald Holding Inc.,

a business-to-business events operator.

Stillwell founded Advertising Week in 2004 as an annual event in New York that has grown to encompass hundreds of panels and conferences each year, often reflecting the evolution of marketing and advertising, as well as many parties organized by industry players.

Advertising Week has also expanded to include events in London, Tokyo, Sydney, Mexico City and Johannesburg, with 100,000 attendees and 3,000 speakers attending its shows each year, a spokesperson said.

Hervé Sedky, president and CEO of Emerald, said the acquisition was a cash transaction that offered Advertising Week executives unspecified incentives to stay with the company until at least 2026. He declined to give further details.

Advertising Week co-founder Lance Pillersdorf recently became CEO, succeeding co-founder Matt Scheckner, who will assume the role of chairman. Both will report to Mr. Sedky. Ruth Mortimer, president of Advertising Week, will also remain with the company.

Mr. Scheckner said the acquisition would allow Advertising Week to strengthen its presence in Africa and East Asia while establishing a second location in Europe.

Advertising Week generated $16 million in revenue in 2019 before its global events went entirely virtual in 2020, a spokesperson said. Revenue fell to $8 million in 2020 and $13 million last year, he said. But the company started hosting in-person events again in October and is on track to surpass its pre-pandemic revenue total this year, the spokesperson added.

“The definition, to me, of ad week success is, will it be there in 10 years, 15 years or 20 years?” said Mr. Scheckner. “At the end of the day, people want to be with people.”

Corporate sponsorships are Advertising Week’s main source of revenue, but the company plans to supplement its live events business with additional investments in content production and digital subscription products such as the professional development AWLearn, said Mr. Scheckner.

Mr. Scheckner said he considered a sale for some time before being approached several months ago by Emerald’s chief financial officer, David Doft, who had met Mr. Scheckner during his 12-year tenure of Mr. Doft as chief financial officer of advertising holding company MDC Partners. , now known as Stagwell Marketing Group LLC.

Emerald Holding reported $145 million in revenue last year and said it expects to be north of $300 million this year. The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2017 but has since lost more than 80% of its original stock value, with most of that decline occurring after the pandemic halted in-person events worldwide from the beginning of 2020.

In recent months, the company has acquired event companies focused on cannabis and weddings as it seeks to enter new sectors and centralize human resources, finance and IT services for its various brands. It has also started creating its own live and virtual events, such as the Web3 D2 Gathering Decentralization Deciphered and the online mental health conference Mentera, Sedky said.

Emerald will continue to expand through mergers and acquisitions while trying to lean into media services and technology tools to help connect people at events, he said.

“The business we were in, of renting a big space, subletting it to a corporate group and bringing as many people there as possible, is really not going to be successful in the future,” he said. he declared.

However, by selling Advertising Week, Stillwell Partners did not become an empty shell: it still produces Nathan’s famous international 4th of July hot dog eating contest.

Write to Patrick Coffee at [email protected]

Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Comments are closed.