UBM outlines Events First strategy

Tim Cobbold, chief executive of UBM, has today announced the company's 'Events First' strategy outlining plans to grow its B2B events positioning in the marketplace.

UBM chief executive Tim Cobbold
UBM chief executive Tim Cobbold

In a video interview, Cobbold said the strategy would see UBM focus on B2B events over the next three to five years, but not exclusively. He added: "The B2B events market is large, it’s worth $23bn (£14.4bn) each year and is growing at about 5% per annum. What we are going to do is to focus on those top 100 events that drive 96% of the profit that we make from our events business. 

"There is a role for our other marketing services businesses as we focus on aligning them more closely to the events business."

In a bid to drive growth, UBM said it will look to invest between £25m and £50m per annum in acquisitions of events businesses, subject to strict criteria. This will include return on investment greater than UBM’s weighted average cost of capital in the first full year of ownership.

The company is also looking to more actively manage the balance of more than 200 shows while investing in those shows with greater growth opportunity. UBM, which organises events in the UK, the US, Asia and Europe, said the investments are expected to save the company £10m in costs from 2016.

Cobbold added: "Events First recognises that the events industry is a highly attractive, growing, global industry in which UBM is already a leading player. We have the opportunity to establish UBM firmly as the leading B2B events business globally and thereby to create substantial value for shareholders.

"To achieve this goal we will focus on our clear priorities: applying our resources to grow our largest and most profitable shows; effecting a step change in the efficiency and effectiveness of our operational performance; and investing in customer insight to enhance their event experience."

Earlier this month UBM said it was looking to acquire US trade show organisers Advanstar Communications. The company has confirmed that the proposed acquisition has received Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust clearance, with this expected to close around the year end, making UBM the top events organiser by revenue in the United States.

Comment below to let us know what you think.

For more in-depth and print-only features, showcases and interviews with world-leading brands, don't miss the next issue of Event magazine by subscribing here.