Onex seals $950m carve-out amid fundraise

The Toronto-based firm will acquire tradeshow operator Nielsen Expositions as it works to raise its fourth North American buyout fund.

Onex Corporation has agreed its first private equity investment of 2013, acquiring tradeshow operator Nielsen Expositions from parent company Nielsen Holdings for $950 million.

California-based Nielsen organises and produces roughly 65 business-to-business tradeshows per year in industries including merchandise, sports, hospitality and retail design, jewelry, and photography. The company generated revenues of approximately $183 million and adjusted EBITDA of $97 million in 2012. Onex will invest about $350 million of equity from its $4.7 billion Fund III, of which $85 million comes from Onex’s own share as a limited partner in the fund, according to a statement.

Onex will continue expanding Nielsen’s existing events and build the company through “select acquisitions”, Onex managing director Kosty Gilis said in a statement.

Onex did not return a request for comment.

The transaction, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2013, comes during the early days of Onex’s most recent fund offering. The firm is marketing its North American-focused Onex IV buyout fund, according to documents from the Texas County & District Retirement System. The target amount for Fund IV could not be determined at press time.

Onex’s Fund III, a 2008 vintage, was generating a .93x internal rate of return and 1.01x multiple as of 30 September, 2012, according to Texas County & District Retirement System documents.

Onex acquired four businesses in 2012, investing $1.4 billion, of which Onex’s share was $457 million.

The Toronto-based firm manages private equity, real estate and credit securities investments, managing approximately C$15 billion (€11.4 billion, $14.9 billion) of which C$10 billion is third-party capital.