New owner for Spring & Autumn Fair

US private equity firm to acquire parent company Hyve Group in £481m deal


Spring & Autumn Fair owner Hyve Group is being sold to an American private equity firm, with the news of the sale causing shares in the events organiser to jump more than 12% after it came to light yesterday, 15 March.

According to The Guardian, which broke the news, Providence Equity Partners has agreed to a buyout deal, paying 108p for each share, which values the business at £481million after two previous offers at 101p and 105p were rejected by Hyve.

Hyve chairman Richard Last told the newspaper: “The board believes the offer represents value for shareholders and that Providence, with their knowledge of the sector and belief in the business and management team, will be a good partner for Hyve.”

Above: Mark Shashoua ceo of Hyve Group
Above: Mark Shashoua, co-founder and ceo of Hyve Group

Providence Equity was founded by Jonathan Nelson in 1989, and he now serves as executive chairman at the firm which has invested over £26.5billion ($32bn) in more than 170 companies.

It said it would support London-based Hyve, which currently organises 33 in-person events such as Spring Fair last month and Autumn Fair in September, across 11 countries and employs more than 600 people in 10 offices, by providing the capital for expansion and acquisitions to help it realise its “full growth potential”.

Shares in the Hyve Group were 610p in January 2020 but the disruption caused by Covid resulted in a significant drop in its stock market value. Hyve became an even more attractive target for a private equity takeover when the shares fell further after pulling out of Russia after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine a year ago and also sold its Turkish and Ukrainian arms.

The price jumped to 111.8p in early trading on the buyout news yesterday, then fell back to 109.8p when the stock market opened this morning, before rising again to 110.01p – if the deal is approved by shareholders, it should be completed by May.

Above: GCA ceo Amanda Fergusson (far right) with Spring Fair event director Daniel Mayhew and his Hyve Group colleague Charlotte Forshaw
Above: GCA ceo Amanda Fergusson (far right) with Spring Fair event director Daniel Mayhew and his Hyve Group colleague Charlotte Forshaw

The business was co-founded by Mark Shashoua in 1991 at ITE Group, then he was ceo of previous Spring & Autumn Fair organisers i2i Events before returning to Hyve Group in 2017 to transform it from a sprawling portfolio to focus on market-leading events – his company profile states: “His aim is to transform everyone’s expectations of what’s really possible at events and help customers to realise the game-changing possibilities that Hyve events hold for businesses and beyond.”

Top: Hyve Group owns Spring & Autumn Fair

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