George Little Management will own and operate Internet Retailer-branded conferences.
Allison Enright , Editor
Vertical Web Media, the media and business intelligence company behind Internet Retailer, has sold its events business to event management firm George Little Management (GLM), the companies announced today. The sale to GLM includes Vertical Web Media’s three e-commerce events: Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (IRCE), Internet Retailer Web Design and Usability Conference (IRWD) and Internet Retailer Mobile Marketing & Commerce Forum (MMCF).
GLM chairman and CEO Charles G. McCurdy says the acquisition complements GLM’s current event assets, which include major retail industry events such as the New York International Gift Fair and the Gourmet Housewares Show. “Because Internet retailing and e-commerce are such important growth topics for the retailers and suppliers who attend GLM’s existing shows, this is a natural extension of GLM’s reach and impact within the supplier and retailer community,” McCurdy says, adding that the acquisition will allow GLM to embed e-commerce content and suppliers into its existing shows. GLM also intends to develop Internet Retailer-branded e-commerce events in Europe and Asia.
The sale of the events business will allow Vertical Web Media to grow its media business more quickly and extend its global reach, says CEO Jack Love. “Ever since we launched our first show in 2005, our company has been expanding along dual paths, with one side growing rapidly in the conference business and the other side growing rapidly in publishing e-commerce information and research,” he says. “As we attempt to expand both businesses around the globe, it becomes obvious that we need a large and professional conference operation to manage the continued expansion of Internet Retailer conferences and free our management up to accelerate the growth of our media business.”
Vertical Web Media and Internet Retailer editors will continue to develop event agendas and recruit speakers on GLM’s behalf for IRCE, IRWD and MMCF. All Vertical Web Media event and exhibition staff will continue in their roles but now be employed by GLM. Steve Rogers, formerly chief operating officer of Internet Retailer events, will continue to lead the event team and will now report to McCurdy. The event and exhibition staff will remain in Chicago and continue its close relationship with Vertical Web Media. GLM’s headquarters is in White Plains, NY.
IRCE, the largest Internet Retailer show and the largest e-commerce event in the world with 563 exhibitors and more than 8,700 attendees in 2012, will continue as planned. The 2013 event will take place in Chicago in June. It is projected to feature 620 exhibitors and draw nearly 10,000 attendees. “While we are selling our conference business, we are definitely not leaving it,” Love says. “IRCE attendees and exhibitors will experience the same high-quality content.”
GLM, which was established in 1924, produces 19 trade shows annually, excluding the three Internet Retailer shows. The company says these shows collectively draw approximately 150,000 attendees annually. McCurdy joined GLM last year as CEO when he, along with private equity firm Providence Equity Partners, bought it for approximately $173 million. He previously was CEO of Canon Communications, a conference and trade publisher, and co-founder of media company Primedia Inc.