Brand Events sells Taste Festivals for £4.97m

Brand Events has sold Taste Festivals, its subsidiary which runs Taste of London and The Big Feastival, to entertainment company IMG Arts & Entertainment.

Taste runs events like The Big Feastival, fronted by Jamie Oliver
Taste runs events like The Big Feastival, fronted by Jamie Oliver

Taste, which organises food festivals in 17 cities around the world, was sold for £4.97m on Friday (1 Feb).

Brand Events created Taste in 2004 with the first Taste of London held at Somerset House.

Chris Hughes, chief executive of Brand Events, told Event: "We’re very proud of Taste but thought it was time for it to move on to someone else. IMG is a global company with big resources, so it can take Taste to a new level. There’s no reason why there shouldn’t be 100 Taste festivals and IMG is capable of doing that if it chooses to."

Taste made an audited pre-tax loss of £62,000 for the year ending March 2012. Hughes said the figure reflected internal management fees: "The accounts are misleading, it was a very profitable business. Taste was a subsidiary company and Brand Events made management charges and fees."

Taste has been operating as a separate division within Brand Events for several years. Its events include festivals in Milan, Sydney and Dubai, Jamie Oliver’s Big Festival and Taste of Christmas, which was held at Excel London in December.

Chief executive Justin Clarke will continue to run the business, which will remain based in Brand Events’s offices in Earls Court Exhibition Centre.

IMG has 30 offices worldwide, and works with events and sponsorship in sports, fashion and media. Stephen Flint Wood, senior vice president and managing director of IMG Arts & Entertainment, said: "IMG has witnessed the extraordinary rise in both the public’s love of great food and restaurants together with the ever growing demand for premium experiential events. We are excited about the potential to grow the business even further."

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