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April 5, 2008

Brand Events deal shows growing pull of live communications

The end of last week (14 June 2007) saw more corporate money ploughed into live communications, following Channel 4’s deal with Brand Events last year, with the events organiser attracting a further £7.02 million from Ingenious Media Active Capital (IMAC).
Interestingly, Andrew Morris, who quit as chief executive of Birmingham-based venue company the NEC Group last year after only holding the position for a short time, is now an IMAC director. It would certainly come as no surprise to find that Morris played a key role in the deal.
The official line is that the money will be used to buy Brand Events from existing shareholders, finance new projects and press ahead with growth in the UK and abroad. IMAC will take a majority equity stake in the business, with the remainder to be held by management. The move reveals IMAC’s continued commitment to invest, this being its 10th deal in just over a year.
Commenting on the investment, chief executive of Brand Events Chris Hughes, said: "Ingenious is the ideal partner to support our growth plans. Its considerable media expertise will be an enormous asset in helping us expand Brand Events in the UK and around the world. With Andrew Morris, who is one of the most accomplished and dynamic figures in the industry, we firmly believe we can become one of the global leaders in the market over the next three to five years."
Hughes launched Brand Events in 1999, and the company has since been responsible for launching a number of innovative shows, that have proved to be highly successful in an exhibition industry seen by many as in decline. Examples include Jeremy Clarkson led motoring show MPH, health and beauty event Vitality and the popular Taste shows, which attracted surprise interest from Channel 4 and are taking place across the UK and Ireland this summer in partnership with the broadcaster.
IMEC director Patrick McKenna was full of praise for Brand Events. "We believe that current market dynamics, the quality of Brand Events and its excellent management team, and the knowledge, relationships and financial resources of IMAC, provides a unique opportunity to create the world's leading consumer events business," he said. "Consumers and brands alike are increasingly seeking original, experiential live events, and no one in the industry is better at creating these than Chris and his team."


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