UK Markets closed

Private equity group to buy event organiser Hyve in £481 million deal

Hyve organises education technology exhibition Bett in London (Hyve Group)
Hyve organises education technology exhibition Bett in London (Hyve Group)

Exhibitions business Hyve is set to be sold to a private equity firm in a deal that values the business at £481 million.

In a bid recommended by Hyve’s board, Providence Equity Partners will pay 108p per share of the event organiser. Hyve shares had been trading at 77p before the business announced it had rejected two acquisition proposals of 101p and 105p per share from an unnamed bidder, now revealed to be Providence.

The shares traded at as much as 610p just over a year ago, but the War in Ukraine - and Hyve’s decision to dispose of its Russian business in response - led to an 85% drop in value.

“Providence believes that Hyve has established a strong platform for future organic and inorganic growth underpinned by Hyve’s portfolio of high-quality global brands and market-leading events focused on developed markets and in growing sectors,” the private equity group said.

A number of Hyve directors and major shareholder Strategic Value Partners have already committed to voting in favour of the deal, meaning that Providence already has approval from shareholders holding just short of 17% of voting rights.

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,” Hyve chairman Richard Last said. “I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the exceptional contribution of our people, whose commitment and hard work have fundamentally changed Hyve for the better, and place us at the forefront of our industry.”

Providence said it aimed to provide capital to allow Hyve to expand both organically and via mergers and acquisitions. Hyve organises four events in London, including the UK’s largest fashion trade show Pure London.

If approved by shareholders, the deal would close in May.

Hyve’s shares rose to 112p in the early hours of trading, above the level of Providence’s bid.