Attractions industry news

19 Oct 2018

Blackstone acquires live events specialist NEC Group

Private equity giant Blackstone has acquired UK-based live events venue operator National Exhibition Centre Group from LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group.

The deal, believed to be worth around £810m, will see Blackstone take control of the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, as well as the International Convention Centre, the Genting Arena and Arena Birmingham – as well as caterer Amadeus and national ticketing agency The Ticket Factory.

NEC hosts many of the largest exhibitions in the UK and recently partnered with Merlin Entertainments to open the first Bear Grylls Adventure visitor attraction and a LEGOLAND Discovery Centre on the company’s sites.

The NEC is also due to host nine sports as part of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“Blackstone’s track record in scaling companies, sector knowledge and real estate capabilities, make them the ideal new partner for NEC Group to realise the next phase of our ambitious growth strategy," said Paul Thandi, Chief Executive of the NEC Group.

Lionel Assant, European head of private equity at Blackstone, added: “The NEC has transformed its main site into a leading leisure, entertainment and business destination, which continues to benefit from a diverse customer base.

"We have tremendous respect for what has been achieved; NEC Group is iconic and we are excited about our new partnership as we look to leverage our firm’s capabilities in support of the team.”

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