Providence exhibits £300m bid for London Vet Show owner

The investor which owns one of the West End’s leading theatre companies is turning its attention to a different kind of presentation by entering talks to buy the owner of the London Vet Show for about £300m.

Sky News has learnt that Providence Equity Partners, the private equity firm behind Ambassador Theatre Group, is in negotiations about a takeover of CloserStill Media, an exhibitions operator.

The talks are at a detailed stage although a deal has yet to be finalised, sources said on Friday.

CloserStill is being sold by Inflexion, another buyout firm, which backed the company in 2015.

It is being advised by DC Advisory Partners.

A significant proportion of CloserStill’s revenues come from outside the UK, with exhibitions such as Dentiste Expo in Paris and Cloud Expo Asia in Singapore among its events.

The deal with Providence, which could be signed within weeks, follows the investor’s £600m sale of Clarion, another exhibitions business, to Blackstone last year.

The sector has continued to attract investor appetite, with the biggest deal announced during the autumn when Blackstone bought the NEC Group for just over £800m.

The NEC, which hosts some of CloserStill’s exhibitions, is one of Britain’s biggest live events operators, and counts Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre, the International Convention Centre and the Genting Arena among its assets.

Its venues stage ‎popular events such as Crufts, the world’s most famous show for pedigree dogs, last summer’s Dinosaurs in the Wild exhibition and musicians including Ed Sheeran and Lady Gaga.

The NEC is also due to stage parts of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Providence declined to comment on Friday.

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