I was glad to attend the annual SISO (Society of Independent Show Organizers) CEO summit a few weeks ago. Overall, large, and small media companies and producers are reporting a major turning point in recovery this year. Words used by movers and shakers in the industry include “surprisingly robust recovery in the US” and “increasing NPS scores of events staging.” One key theme that kept coming across is sellers with an omni channel and more year-round approach to connecting with their industry are more valuable and therefore command a higher purchase price from buyers. 

Some of my other top takeaways from the CEO summit.

  • Buyers are reporting a willingness to acquire at pre-COVID transaction multiple levels assuming a favorable 2022 recovery of your business and a positive near-term outlook for robust growth.
  • Given the uncertainty around recovery, sellers and buyers may be together for a few years after a transaction, so be flexible on deal structures.
  • Robust future financial outlooks that include data or research that back up the forecast will result in bigger payouts and a more likelihood to be attractive to buyers. For a buyer, the multiple is a function of confidence of growth and certainty of future outcome vs relying on past performance as your future indicator.
  • Companies that go beyond live events and provide digital content, data, transaction or other tools for industry engagement and monetization opportunities throughout the year are key buyer targets; break free from legacy thinking if you haven’t already.
  • Look to formally identify your sustainability or carbon footprint business strategy, buyers see this increasingly important in their evaluation.
  • This is the great marketing reset; you are no longer preaching to the choir, not everyone is coming back, you must expand to more sophisticated digital marketing strategies to capture sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, and readers.
  • Positioning your business to be scalable is a value add and worth more to a buyer.
  • According to an experienced economist who spoke at the event, 2022 might even prove to be more favorable conditions economically then 2023 for transactions.