NVM begins CloserStill buy & build

CloserStill Holdings, a portfolio company of small-cap private equity house NVM Private Equity, has acquired two businesses as it seeks to expand its activities in the exhibitions and events sector.

NVM parted with £7m for a stake in CloserStill in October 2008 with the specific intention of embarking on a buy and build strategy. The new acquisitions, Pioneer Global Media – an organiser of trade exhibitions within the healthcare market – and Principal Media – which produces B2B e-learning exhibition and conference, Learning Technologies.

NVM backed the CloserStill management team following the success of an earlier partnership. NVM supported the MBO of Ithaca Business Media, a B2B event organizer, in April 2005 and subsequently sold it to United Business Media (UBM) for £14.25m in September 2007, generating an IRR of over 60% per annum.

The management of Ithaca – led by Andy Center – decided to set-up CloserStill after identifying a gap in the mid-sized exhibition businesses despite an appetite amongst major media groups for such companies.

NVM invested an initial £4m in CloserStill last year, with a further £3m available for draw down for acquisitions.