Exclusive: Organizer of largest U.S. fashion trade show explores sale - sources

NEW YORK Thu Jul 17, 2014 6:39pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Privately held U.S. event marketing company Advanstar, which puts on trade shows in industries such as fashion and healthcare, is exploring a sale that could fetch more than $900 million, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Advanstar is working with investment banks Goldman Sachs Group and Moelis & Co to assist with efforts to find a buyer, the people said, asking not to be named because the matter is not public.

The company is best known for putting on twice a year in Las Vegas the Magic fashion trade show, the largest U.S. fashion convention.

Advanstar is controlled by hedge fund Anchorage Capital Group and private equity firms Ares Management LP and Veronis Suhler Stevenson. Advanstar also owns trade magazines and websites focused on areas such as dental products and veterinary services.

News of the sale comes a year after Canadian private equity firm Onex Corp purchased Nielsen Expositions, the trade show arm of Nielsen Holdings for $950 million.

Advanstar generates roughly $95 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and could sell for roughly 10 times that amount, one of the people said.

Representatives from Goldman Sachs and Moelis declined to comment while representatives from Advanstar, Anchorage and Ares did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Liana B. Baker in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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