Steve Monnington (pictured), managing director of Mayfield Media Strategies

It has been such a pleasure to visit exhibitions over the last couple of months and feel the buzz in the halls as exhibitors and visitors re-connect. The strong re-sign at all the shows I visited bodes well for 2022.

Hyve Group has announced an agreement to acquire Hong Kong and London based 121 Group, organiser of invitation-only investor introduction and deal sourcing meeting programmes for the mining sector in Europe, USA, Asia and South Africa. The business was founded in 2014 to create events where corporate participants have an obligation to market their businesses globally to investors. In addition, the Group runs an investor relations service for mining companies including The Assay – an online information and marketing site for the sector. The associated products provide additional touch points with clients helping 121 Group to grow into an established provider of marketing services for small-mid cap mining companies looking to raise capital. The transaction, which includes earnouts for the years to March 2023 and 2024, is worth an estimated £42m to £50m and will be partly funded through a placement of new shares.

In 2018, Hyve acquired Mining Indaba from Euromoney, taking ownership of the leading event dedicated to mining in Africa. The acquisition of 121 Group expands its mining investment exhibition interests globally and, together with Mining Indaba, creates an omnichannel platform for African mining and investment communities. Hyve has a product-led strategy to create the world’s leading portfolio of content-driven, must-attend events and in 2019 acquired Shoptalk and Groceryshop events covering e-commerce for the retail, grocery and consumer packaged goods industries.

The Vuka Group, formed from the management buyout of Clarion Events’ Africa business, has created two partnerships with entrepreneur-led organisers. The MBO, led by former managing director David Ashdown, resulted in all of Clarion’s exhibitions and digital platform business in the region being rebranded as Vuka Group. The portfolio is primarily in the Energy and Mining sectors but the infrastructure of the business has allowed them to present opportunities to independent organisers on a ‘plug and play’ basis and is already expanding the sectors they serve.

The first partnership is with Smarter Mobility Africa founded by Ben Pullen who remains as chairman and will take advantage of Vuka Group’s back office, systems, media platforms and general know-how to more easily scale the business as well as taking advantage of the synergies that their energy portfolio brings. The other partnership is with Kinetic Events and brings Vuka Group into the Retail sector, specifically e-commerce and customer fulfilment. Kinetic is a conference organiser running events such as Customer Experience Management Summit and e-Commerce Africa Confex. It launched its own digital platform, Kinetic365, in 2020, when physical events shut down. As with Smarter Mobility, the founders Shannon Mackrill and Terry Southam, will plug into Vuka Group’s resources but will continue to be the face of the business.

Looking at the comeback of the exhibition industry in Europe and USA, it easy to overlook the fact that in-person events in South Africa have yet to re-emerge in any meaningful way so it’s digital platforms for now.

Easyfairs added to their substantial portfolio of packaging shows (12 cities across 10 countries at the last count) with the acquisition of Connect in Pharma – a launch event created by Jerome Letu-Montois (ex GL Events) who set up MIND Exhibitions to launch the show in Geneva for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors and decided to fast-track the growth by working with Easyfairs. The first edition of the show will be in June 2022