Italian Exhibition Group Buys Majority Stake in FB International Inc.

MILAN — Italian Exhibition Group, or IEG, is expanding overseas.

The trade show operator — which originated from the merging of Fiera di Vicenza and Rimini Fiera in 2016 — acquired a 51 percent stake of FB International Inc., an Oakland–based company offering trade show services and design solutions. The value of the operation is about $7 million.

The deal will result in a new company entirely controlled by Italian Exhibition Group and named IEG USA, which will become the operative arm for new business initiatives.

“It’s a very important operation, which has to be considered in its overall value,” said IEG general director Corrado Facco, explaining that “an integrated and operative presence of our Group in a primary trade show market is strategic also for exporting our shows in the U.S. and drawing American buyers to our fairs.”

In particular, the U.S. represent 43 percent of the global trade show market and the exhibition design and setup category accounts for $14 billion in the country.

“Moreover, FB International, which counts among its clients main international fair organizers along with the American ones, enables us to be at the center of crucial relationships, new partnerships and future joint ventures,” Facco said.

Founded in 1988 by Italian entrepreneur Fabrizio Bartolozzi, FB International Inc. has two operative poles. In addition to its headquarters in Oakland, N.J., the company has also a branch in Las Vegas, and serves clients as Emerald Expositions, GL Events and Reed Exhibitions, among others.

As a result of the operation, FB international’s top management will include Bartolozzi as chief executive officer and Facco as president. IEG’s vice director Carlo Costa has been appointed president of IEG USA.

Italian Exhibition Group, which expects to close 2018 with revenues of 160 million euros, compared to 129 million euros in 2017, also aims to go public this year.

“The company is performing really well and I think that the listing would be a great opportunity [that] we shouldn’t miss,” said in January the firm’s executive vice president Matteo Marzotto at the latest edition of the VicenzaOro jewelry trade show, which is organized by IEG. “We are actually able to finance and sustain our business plan. Becoming public will enable us to do more and better and at the same time the Bourse will give the company an extraordinary exposure and credibility,” Marzotto said at the time.

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