Emerald lights up New Year with acquisition of largest event platform for the cannabis industry

Global exhibition organiser Emerald Holding, Inc. has announced the acquisition of Denver-based MJBiz, a leading private event producer and content platform serving a range of companies operating in the rapidly growing cannabis industry. MJBiz said the acquisition by the Holding’s subsidiary Emerald X, for $120m plus potential earnouts, includes MJBizCon, the oldest and largest trade show of its kind in the cannabis industry. MJBizCon featured 1,200 exhibiting companies and 27,000 attendees when it ran in October 2021 in Las Vegas. The acquisition includes related media and event brands including Hemp Industry Daily.

In 2021, MJBiz, which has 40 staff, turned over approximately $27m and CEO Chris Walsh, senior vice-president of events and sales, Jess Tyler, and senior vice-president of content and audience development, Pam Moore, will continue to lead the day-to-day operations of the business.

Walsh said of the acquisition: “This really highlights the rapidly growing interest in cannabis from all corners of the business world, the market’s vast potential and the success of not only MJBiz, but also of the entire industry.”

Hervé Sedky (pictured), Emerald’s president and CEO, said: "This is a transformational acquisition for Emerald as it represents an important next step in the implementation of our strategic initiatives and underscores our commitment to evolve and grow our customers’ businesses 365 days a year.”

Sedky added: “We have long admired MJBiz’s sterling reputation for being the most trusted event and content producer serving the business side of the cannabis and hemp industries and their respective participants. MJBiz’s leading event and content portfolio coupled with their 365-day engagement platform, which connects the entire cannabis supply chain, will diversify our collective product offerings, enhance our growth profile and enable us to deliver even greater value to our customers over the long term.”

Cassandra Farrington, MJBiz co-founder and chair of its Board, commented: “Our organisation has experienced massive growth since its inception, initially as a how-to resource to help dispensary owners run their businesses better, into our position today as the leading commercial resource for the cannabis sector. Integrating with a larger organisation provides the additional resources and channels to unlock the next phase of MJBiz’s growth and is the right next step in our evolution as a business. We chose Emerald because they clearly value the unique aspects of our brand and are committed to serving the industry’s expansion.”

MJBiz’s next events include the Emerald Conference, 27 February–1 March, 2022, in San Diego, CA at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort, and MJBizCon, 15-18 November, 2022, in Las Vegas, NV at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Emerald’s revenue rebounded in the third quarter of 2021 to $76.5m from $15m in the second quarter.