Advent International invests in VNU Exhibitions Asia, as Jaarbeurs makes an exit

Advent International (‘Advent’), one of the world’s largest private equity investors, has announced an investment in VNU Exhibitions Asia, a major exhibition and conference organiser in China. Advent has bought out the 70% holding held by Netherlands-based organiser Royal Jaarbeurs.

“The sale of VNU EA in China offers us the opportunity to position ourselves even more firmly in the Netherlands and internationally outside of China,” said Jeroen van Hooff, CEO of Royal Jaarbeurs.

Over 30 years, VNU EA has built a significant presence in China, operating across 10 cities and hosting over 20 exhibitions and conferences each year. Headquartered in Shanghai, the company specialises in events across four industries: pet food and supplies, paving materials and building construction and décor, 3D printing and additive manufacturing, and agriculture/agri-tech. Its flagship event, Pet Fair Asia, which was launched in 1997, attracted 24,000 exhibiting brands and over 350,000 visitors in 2023.

Irene Liu, managing director at Advent, commented: “We are excited about VNU EA’s strong portfolio, its longstanding track record spanning nearly three decades and its immense growth potential… We are confident that Advent’s global resources and support will propel the company’s next phase of growth amidst a thriving sector in China.”

David Zhong, founder at VNU Exhibitions Asia, said: “As the founder of VNU EA, I am extremely proud of our company’s achievements over the last 30 years. We have created some of the world’s most high-profile exhibitions for a range of industries, including pet and lifestyle trends, architecture and urban development, agriculture and food, as well as the smart industries of the future. Our customers have been able to develop their businesses in China and Asia through our platforms and have seen huge growth year-on-year.”

Andrew Li, managing director, head of Greater China at Advent, added: “Over the past decade Advent has been investing in companies and industries in the China market that have significant growth potential, aiming to create value through our unique operational strategies, extensive sector experience and our global network. Our partnership with VNU demonstrates this investment approach as well as our continued deep commitment to the Greater China region.”

Van Hooff added: “VNU EA has organised many successful events in China over the past few decades. Following a strategic reorientation, we now welcome Advent as a new investor in VNU EA… Having Advent’s support will certainly help VNU EA further strengthen its position in the event industry. Given that Royal Jaarbeurs will continue to organise VIV Select China and Pet Fair South-East Asia with VNU EA, we are greatly looking forward to working with Advent in the future.”

Advent has made multiple investments across Greater China in recent years, including LBS Group, a leading pest control operation and hygiene solutions provide in Greater China; Wagas Group, a major lifestyle F&B group in China; AI Dream, China’s leading branded sleep solution provider and the largest player in the country’s premium mattress market; BioDuro, a global life sciences contract research and development organisation with major operations in Shanghai, Beijing and San Diego; and GS capsule, the largest domestic capsule provider in China.

Going forward, VNU Exhibitions Asia will change its English name to Globus Events, a move it says better reflecting its growth potential following the partnership with Advent.