Global: Urban Expositions eyes stronger foothold in consumer events

US-based Urban Expositions, a Clarion Events company, has acquired LeftField Media, as it seeks to establish expertise and market reach in the B2C events sector.

Nickelodeon: one of the brands at Play Fair
Nickelodeon: one of the brands at Play Fair

Connecticut-based LeftField Media, which has a growing portfolio of consumer events focused on passionate communities around the US, was started in 2014 by New York Comic Con founder Greg Topalian and the senior leadership at Business Journals, including Britton Jones, Mac Brighton and Sharon Enright.

Clarion’s deal involves it buying out the shares of Jones, Brighton, and Enright, with Topalian continuing onboard as minority owner of the company and president. The acquisition will provide LeftField with increased capital and infrastructure.

Commenting on the acquisition, Jones said: "From the beginning we knew LeftField Media would be a success in the marketplace and it certainly has demonstrated that since its inception. Urban Expositions and Clarion Events are well appointed to provide a strong platform to further excel the growth of the LeftField Media business."

Topalian added: "LeftField Media’s seen incredible growth in under two years, and I’m very proud of the events and relationships we’ve developed. I’m excited now to see what we can do with the resources and confidence of a global event organiser at our back."

Simon Kimble, executive chairman at Clarion, said that while Clarion and LeftField look very different in size, they share a common philosophy.

"We both build successful, dynamic, and creative businesses, and we value an entrepreneurial spirit," he said. "We’re excited to foster this further at LeftField and jointly build new businesses."

LeftField’s portfolio includes Play Fair, a family-focused celebration of toys and play built with the Toy Industry Association and brands including LEGO, Nickelodeon, Hasbro, Mattel, and Cartoon Network, as well as Awesome Con, Washington DC’s Comic Con. This year it saw over 55% growth, drawing more than 50,000 fans and partners such as Science Channel, NASA, and the Smithsonian.

Clarion is the largest independent event organiser in the UK, operating more than 200 events in 20 countries. It entered the US market in 2015 through acquiring majority ownership of Georgia-based Urban Expositions. LeftField will futher amplify Urban Expositions’ and Clarion’s reach in the world of consumer events in the US. This expansion will complement the existing consumer events currently operating across the Urban and Clarion business, which includes SOFA Chicago, The Classic Auto Show, Destinations, and The Classic Motor Show. 

Clarion Events acquired Internet Retail Events last year

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