NEW YORK (Reuters) - British communications and events company UBM Plc UBM.L is in advanced talks to acquire privately-held U.S. trade show organizer Advanstar for around $900 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
UBM, which also owns PR Newswire and has a market capitalization of 1.48 billion pounds ($2.4 billion), is in the final stages of negotiating a deal and could announce the transaction as early as this week, one of the people said.
Discussions are continuing and could still fall apart, the people cautioned, asking not to be named because the matter is not public. UBM has so far prevailed over other bidders for the asset, including U.S. information services company Penton, the people said.
Representatives for UBM and Penton declined to comment. A representative from Advanstar could not be immediately reached.
Advanstar, which is best known for putting on the biannual Magic fashion trade show in Las Vegas, the largest U.S. fashion convention, is working with investment banks Goldman Sachs Group (GS.N) and Moelis & Co (MC.N) to assist with efforts to find a buyer, Reuters reported in July.
This would be the first large acquisition for UBM under its new CEO Tim Cobbold, who started at the company earlier this year after leaving the top post at British banknote printer De La Rue (DLAR.L).
Advanstar is controlled by hedge fund Anchorage Capital Group and private equity firms Ares Management LP and Veronis Suhler Stevenson. It has changed hands several times over the years between various private equity firms, including Hellman & Friedman, which sold its stake in 2000.
Advanstar generates roughly $95 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and could sell for roughly 10 times that amount, Reuters previously reported.
News of the potential sale comes a year after Canadian private equity firm Onex Corp OCX.TO purchased Nielsen Expositions, the trade show arm of Nielsen Holdings (NLSN.N) for $950 million.
Reporting by Liana B. Baker in New York; Editing by Franklin Paul and Nick Zieminski