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Easyfairs acquires Southern Manufacturing & Electronics

The world’s largest privately owned exhibition organiser, Easyfairs, today announced the acquisition of European Trade & Exhibition Services, organiser of Southern Manufacturing & Electronics, bolstering its already extensive engineering and manufacturing portfolio that incorporates Advanced Engineering as well as many other brands across Europe.

Above: Southern Manufacturing & Electronics 2023.
Courtesy Easyfairs / Southern Manufacturing & Electronics

This acquisition represents a significant addition to Easyfairs’ extensive European engineering & manufacturing portfolio.

Southern Manufacturing & Electronics is in its 26th edition, having built up an impressive reputation as a key event for the manufacturing technology sector in the UK. Taking place from 6th to 8th February 2024 at Farnborough International Exhibition Centre, it attracts over 460 exhibitors (representing 600 companies) and 9,000 attendees and has a unique position as the only large-scale industrial engineering event in the South of England.

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Easyfairs has a strong track record of delivering 30 industrial events across nine countries, including Advanced Engineering, Advanced Manufacturing, All About Automation and many others. Advanced Engineering, one of the biggest in the portfolio, has its flagship event at the NEC Birmingham in November and is the UK’s largest annual gathering of engineering and manufacturing professionals, offering a vital window into the future of the market. Since its acquisition by Easyfairs in 2015, it has cemented its highly respected reputation as a market leader and has since launched into Belgium and Sweden.

This is acquisition will provide a complete and complementary portfolio of events for the UK manufacturing industry. Matt Benyon, Group CEO of Easyfairs, commented: “Southern Manufacturing & Electronics is a perfect strategic fit for our growing portfolio and as part of an established stable of industry-leading events, the event’s future development and its loyal exhibitor and visitor base that has been built up over the last 30 years will be in very safe hands.”

A portfolio including these two distinct UK events creates a powerful offering to the market covering the entire engineering and manufacturing value chain. Southern Manufacturing & Electronics has a core of exhibitors displaying machinery, production equipment, electronic production, tooling and subcontracting services, where Advanced Engineering has its core in product design and engineering, composites engineering and advanced materials. It also provides a geographical diversity with 35% of the 2.6 million people who work in UK manufacturing based in the South of England, Southern Manufacturing & Electronics provides a critical hub for the industry.

Southern Manufacturing & Electronics has built up over the years as a family business, led by founders Phil Valentine and Jo Valentine and with a family team working with them. Alison Willis, Managing Director of Easyfairs UK confirmed: “Phil and Jo will remain closely involved in the event as consultants, and we very much look forward to working with them and the rest of the family on the continuing growth and success of the event. The knowledge and experience that the Valentine family bring, combined with the strength of Easyfairs pan-European network of industrial trade shows, our advanced technology platform and the obvious synergies within the Easyfairs portfolio will certainly drive the next phase in the event’s development.”

Phil Valentine added: “We could not be more delighted to reach this agreement with Easyfairs. As a family business, founded exactly 30 years ago, we were always going to be cautious to choose the right company to take the event forward as and when we were in a position to sell. We have built a strong relationship with Matt and the team at Easyfairs over many years; we are therefore confident that there is a close synergy with the values of our businesses, despite the difference of scale and it gives me great confidence and pleasure that Southern Manufacturing & Electronics is in the right hands for the future.”

Easyfairs will resume full operational running of the event from the end of February 2024.

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