Trade show operators International Market Centers and AmericasMart have entered into a merger agreement.
The combined corporation will operate under the name International Market Centers. It will own and operate almost 20 million square feet of permanent showroom space in Las Vegas, High Point, NC, and Atlanta, creating the world’s largest permanent mart operator for furniture, home decor, rug, gift and apparel, the companies stated.
The individual markets they support and their respective venues will continue to operate under existing names and branding. IMC and AmericasMart will host or contribute to more than 20 annual events.
Robert Maricich, current International Market Centers CEO, will become chief executive officer of the combined entity.
“IMC has always had immense respect for AmericasMart and its founders, the Portman family, who established a tremendous reputation in the industry,” Maricich said. “We look forward to bringing together our two companies to provide exhibitors with exceptional access to global markets, and buyers with even more convenient opportunities to explore top products across sectors.”
AmericasMart houses the world’s single largest collection of home decor, gift, area rug and apparel merchandise, in a complex consisting of 7.1 million square feet of space in downtown Atlanta. AmericasMart hosts 17 annual markets and shows, including the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market and the Atlanta International Area Rug Market. The markets regularly serve over 4,500 exhibitors. AmericasMart welcomes nearly 200,000 attendees each year including international attendees from 80 countries and buyers from the top 100 retailers in the U.S.
In 2017, Blackstone Real Estate Partners and Blackstone Tactical Opportunities acquired IMC in partnership with Fireside Investments. IMC is the world’s largest owner and operator of premier showroom space for the furniture, home decor and gift industries, with 12.2 million square feet of exhibition space in High Point and Las Vegas serving more than 4,000 exhibitors and lines. The strategic combination of the trade show operators is evidence of Blackstone’s and IMC’s strong belief in the long-term vitality of markets and the critical role they play in the industry.
IMC has recently committed significant capital to expand both of its existing campuses in Las Vegas, through the construction of a new, connected 350,000 square foot convention and exposition center, and in High Point, through the acquisition/construction of two buildings and the extensive renovation of common areas throughout the campus.
“This announcement to combine with AmericasMart coupled with our continued investment in High Point and Las Vegas demonstrates our enthusiasm about the expansion of our core business and our optimism for the future of markets for the furniture, home decor, gift and apparel industries,” Maricich said.
The creation of architect-developer John Portman, AmericasMart has for more than 60 years been an Atlanta landmark.
“AmericasMart has long served as a crossroads of commerce,” Jeffrey Portman, Sr. said. “This joining of the incredibly powerful talents and resources present in both organizations will sustain and advance that role for the ultimate benefit of the customers we jointly serve.” Portman will serve as an advisor to the IMC board.
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018.