CloserStill expands into cruise ship interiors with majority stake in Elite Exhibitions

CloserStill Media has acquired a majority stake in Brighton-based Elite Exhibitions for undisclosed terms. 

Elite Exhibitions produces the annual Cruise Ship Interiors (CSI) shows in London and Miami. Cruise Ship Interiors Design Expo Europe takes place at ExCeL London from 4-5 December. The US version takes place from 6-7 June at the Miami Beach Convention Center. 

Elite co-founders Toby Walters and Sam Murray will remain with the organiser and continue to lead a 30-strong team as CEO and commercial director respectively. 

Walters said: “Sam and I have worked extremely hard to build a company that prides itself on an engaging and entrepreneurial culture; having observed CloserStill for some time it was clear that they were the perfect fit for Elite. This partnership will provide both our team and our business the ability to pursue new opportunities whilst accelerating our growth.”

CloserStill’s investment in the cruise ship sector complements both its Automotive Interiors Expo events in Europe and the USA as well as its Influence Group business in North America, which serves the built environment and design sector across multiple verticals, including hotels, restaurants and retail.  

Gareth Bowhill, CEO of CloserStill Media, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Toby, Sam and the Elite team into the Group. Elite is a dynamic, fast-growing business and the cruise ship sector is attractive and complementary to several of our existing shows in the transportation sector, as well as broader design and built environment space. Toby and Sam are creative, talented leaders who have built a unique culture with their dynamic team. We are excited about what the partnership will bring to the expanded CloserStill group.” 

Mayfield Merger Strategies advised Elite Exhibitions on the transaction.