Events – returning to the ‘sweet-spot’ for investors

With several Top 20 organisers linked to potential private equity activity, AMR believes now is the right time for investors to explore value creation opportunities in events.

We see the sector is entering a new ‘sweet-spot’ of tangible opportunity for investors that choose to invest in players that grasp new ways of working.

Yes, the market has been disrupted but with the fundamentals proven, it holds substantial opportunity. We believe that the winners are in a better position to take share than before the pandemic.

We outline five main factors underpinning this shift.

1. The value of face to face (F2F) is proven

Events that have run in the past few weeks and months have seen exhibitors and visitors return in large numbers, whether in the US, France, Dubai or China. Some events have even surpassed their 2019 benchmarks. However, international participation will remain depressed for a while

2.  The recovery is gaining momentum

AMR’s Exhibition Recovery Tracker points to accelerating recovery across 2021, with Q4 forecast activity close to 2019 levels of event bookings in the five largest markets. The outlook for 2022 is also positive, although with some risk of new restrictions linked to variants

3. Digital is finding its way

There have been digital flops, particularly among scaled trade shows. But we are also seeing accelerated growth of digital services across event types. Marketplaces such as Première Vision, maison&objet&more, Emerald’s acquisition of PlumRiver, and shoptoys365 are all examples. Digital has many forms; its growth potential is from 2% of revenues in 2019 to 25% in 2025. In tandem, we are seeing some new business models such as membership and subscriptions.

4. Substantial opportunity for the winners

A large part of the market, including association shows and venue-run shows is struggling to adapt and change. Many risk losing market share. This leaves more opportunity for those who are modernising and addressing their markets and their customers more effectively. Winners know they need to think and operate more broadly, welcoming AMR’s Community Catalyst concept which pushes the envelope of a broader ambition than just being an event organiser.

5. Valuations are more reasonable

These players will need funding for the reset, as well as for the acquisition of events and select technologies, and investment in both digital services and launch. Valuations are now substantially below the 2019 peak, although we can expect to see some new structures such as in the GL Events / Nexus Point deal to close gaps in expectations    


Events have delivered substantial returns for investors over the past two decades. AMR has continued to work across the events ecosystem and event technology throughout the pandemic.

Want more information?

To discuss opportunities across the events ecosystem, please get in touch with:

Florent Jarry
Partner and Head of AMR’s Events Ecosystem and Technology Practice

Denzil Rankine

Executive Chairman

About AMR International

AMR International is the world leader in strategy consulting for the events and exhibitions industry. Our mission is to create value for our clients and act as a guide for transformation. We support every aspect of event transformation, from group and market entry strategy, acquisition search, commercial due diligence, and performance improvement through to pricing, digital strategy, and data analytics. We are deal-size agnostic and geography agnostic. AMR has offices in London, New York, Paris, and New Delhi, as well as on-the-ground experience in 40 plus countries.