CloserStill Group

CloserStill Group .

9 March 2015

NVM Private Equity supports CloserStill for the fifth time

NVM Private Equity (NVM) has supported the CloserStill management team for the fifth time over the past ten years. CloserStill, a rapidly expanding business-to-business (B2B) international events company, has been sold to Inflexion Private Equity for an undisclosed sum. The sale represents a full exit for Phoenix Equity Partners who invested in 2012, and a partial exit for NVM – who will re-invest £5 million and continue as a shareholder of the events company.

2005: NVM supported the team’s management buy-out of Ithaca Business Media with £2 million of investment.

2007: Ithaca Business Media is sold to United Business Media for £14.3 million generating a 3 times money multiple and an IRR of 60% on NVM’s original investment.

2008: The Ithaca management team approached NVM again to help fund the launch of London-based CloserStill, to build-up a portfolio of B2B exhibitions and events companies. NVM invested £4 million.

2011: NVM invests a further £3 million to launch CloserStill’s sister company, Closer2. This is another ‘buy and build’ platform created to seek out small businesses, launches and partnerships with entrepreneurs in the B2B events industry that can grow quickly.

2012: NVM partially exits CloserStill to Phoenix Equity Partners, in a deal valued at c£25 million, to support CEO Andy Center, Chairman Phil Soar and Directors, Phil Nelson and Michael Westcott’s strategy to accelerate CloserStill’s growth further through international expansion and UK-based organic growth. (9 p.3) NVM rolls over its £3 million of investment from Closer2 into the new group.

The CloserStill team have skilfully taken advantage of private equity backing to build-up a successful portfolio of events companies, by launching new shows and acquiring small exhibitions within the highly attractive and resilient Healthcare and Technology sectors. CloserStill now owns 19 events with 13 in the UK (including the Dental Technology Show and Data Center World), and six international events – the majority of which generate revenues of £1 million or more. Over the last five years, the group revenues have increased from £4.6 million to £24 million – driven predominantly by organic growth.

The recent sale has generated a 4x money multiple and 43% Internal Rate of Return (IRR) on NVM’s investment of £3 million in 2012.

Andy Center, CEO of CloserStill, said: “Ten years ago, NVM were the first outfit to spot the potential in our business and the first to back us. Since then, with NVM`s Peter Hodson steadfastly at our side every step of the way, we have had the pleasure and the privilege of building a business that creates wealth for all its staff  - not just the senior management -and spectacular results for everyone who has supported us, particularly our friends and partners at NVM. We are delighted that Peter and NVM are backing us again. Frankly, it wouldn’t be the same without him.”

Peter Hodson, NVM Partner, said: “We are delighted to be supporting CloserStill’s next venture. The team have guided the business to exceptional growth since founding the company in 2008 excelling on every metric. We know them extremely well and are very confident that they will continue to set the events industry on fire with new launches and a plan to replicate existing shows in international markets.”

-ENDS-

NOTES TO EDITORS

ADVISERS:

Addleshaw Goddard (Legal adviser to CloserStill) – Nathan Pearce, Yunus Seedat, Geoff Yates

DC Advisory (Financial adviser to CloserStill) – Richard Madden, Nathaniel Cooper

KPMG (Tax adviser to CloserStill) – Craig Rowlands, Shabana Ahmed

Robertson Hare (Tax adviser to NVM) – Philip Hare

Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co. (Legal adviser to NVM)–Ian Piggin, Neil Hendron, Christian Kourtis

NVM Private Equity is independently owned with 30 years’ experience of investing in unquoted UK businesses. NVM is a generalist investor, managing £300 million of funds, and is differentiated by having executives living and working in regional business communities throughout the UK. NVM seeks investment opportunities of between £2 million and £10 million in UK businesses which have the right mix of growth potential and market vision. www.nvm.co.uk

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Natalie Dickinson

PR & Marketing Natalie Dickinson