Orange County Business Journal

Nielsen Expositions to Be Acquired

Jane Yu Monday, May 6, 2013

Trade show organizer Nielsen Expositions in San Juan Capistrano has agreed to be acquired by Toronto-based private equity firm Onex Corp. for $950 million.

Nielsen Expositions is part of Diemen, Netherlands-based information and analytics company Nielsen Holdings N.V. The parent company’s operations include measurements of television ratings and consumer spending patterns.

Nielsen Expositions, which has about 240 employees across four offices nationwide, organizes more than 65 business-to-business trade shows and conference events in the U.S. each year. The segment had about $183 million in revenue last year, accounting for about 3% of the parent company’s total revenue.

“The expo part of the company is a relatively small segment,” said Brian West, Nielsen’s chief financial officer, during a conference call Monday morning. “We’ve always said ... that the Expositions [segment], while we loved it, was noncore … [and] if the opportunity presents itself [to sell], we would take a hard look at it, and we did.”

The all-cash, tax-free transaction is expected to close this quarter.

West said Nielsen plans to use the proceeds for its pending acquisition of Arbitron Inc., a Columbia, Md.-based radio ratings company. The $1.26 billion deal was announced in December.

Nielsen Expositions President David Loechner said the company is counting on Onex’ expertise in “corporate carve-outs.”

Onex, which has about $4.7 billion in assets, until recently has held a 50% ownership stake in Anaheim-based RSI Home Products Inc., a cabinet manufacturer under RSI Holding LLC in Newport Beach.

RSI Holding’s founder and chairman, Ron Simon, bought out the private equity partner in February, paying $323 million to gain full ownership of the cabinetmaker.