NVM Private Equity-based funds invest £5m into rapidly-expanding events firm CloserStill

Funds managed by Newcastle-based NVM have received £11m after realising investements

Andy Center, CEO of CloserStill
Andy Center, CEO of CloserStill

Funds managed by North East-based NVM Private Equity have backed the management team of a London firm for the fifth time in a decade after receiving returns of more than £11m on their investments.

The Newcastle-headquartered private equity business operates four funds – Northern Investors Company PLC, Northern 3 VCT PLC, Northern 2 VCT PLC and Northern Venture Trust – which first supported the team in 2005 in its buyout of Ithaca Business Media with £2m of investment.

The Ithaca management team then approached NVM again three years later, resulting in the investors injecting £4m to help fund the launch of London-based CloserStill, allowing them to build up a portfolio of business-to-business exhibitions and events companies.

Over the last 10 years the NVM-managed funds have invested more than £9m into the CloserStill management team, support which has resulted in them receiving cash proceeds of £11.04m after realising their investment through a secondary management buyout by Inflexion Private Equity.

Inflexion has bought the rapidly-expanding international events company for an undisclosed sum and the sale represents a partial exit for NVM.

However, three of the funds will now reinvest £5m and continue as a shareholder of the events company.

In 2011 NVM ploughed a further £3m into the launch of CloserStill’s sister company, Closer2, another ‘buy and build’ platform which was created to seek out small businesses, launches and partnerships with entrepreneurs in the business-to-business events industry that can grow quickly.

Since it was established the CloserStill team have taken advantage of private equity backing to build-up a successful portfolio of events companies, by launching new shows and acquiring small exhibitions within the healthcare and technology sectors.

The group now owns 19 events with 13 in the UK, including the Dental Technology Show, the majority of which generate revenues of £1m or more. Over the last five years, the group revenues have increased from £4.6m to £24m, driven predominantly by organic growth.

Andy Center, chief executive office of CloserStill, said: “Ten years ago, NVM were the first outfit to spot the potential in our business and the first to back us.

“Since then, with NVM’s Peter Hodson steadfastly at our side every step of the way, we have had the pleasure and the privilege of building a business that creates wealth for all its staff – not just the senior management – and spectacular results for everyone who has supported us, particularly our friends and partners at NVM. We are delighted that Peter and NVM are backing us again.

“Frankly, it wouldn’t be the same without him.”

Peter Hodson, NVM Partner, said: “We are delighted to be supporting CloserStill’s next venture. The team have guided the business to exceptional growth since founding the company in 2008 excelling on every metric.

“We know them extremely well and are very confident that they will continue to set the events industry on fire with new launches and a plan to replicate existing shows in international markets.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer