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Arena Birmingham

Blackstone Acquires UK Venues Operator National Exhibition Centre Group (NEC Group) From LDC

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BIRMINGHAM, U.K. (CelebrityAccess) – The private equity fund of investment firm Blackstone has today (Oct. 15) announced that it has acquired UK event venues operator National Exhibition Centre Group (NEC Group) from LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group.

Founded in 1976, the NEC operates Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre, the International Convention Centre, the Genting Arena and Arena Birmingham, playing host to over seven million guests and 750 events each year.

Among NEC Group’s other assets are caterer Amadeus and national ticketing agency The Ticket Factory.

Commenting on the acquisition, Paul Thandi, Chief Executive of the NEC Group, said: “Blackstone’s track record in scaling companies, sector knowledge and unrivalled real estate capabilities, make them the ideal new partner for NEC Group to realise the next phase of our ambitious growth strategy. All of our teams and partners look forward to working closely with the world class team as we embark on becoming the definitive name in events and exhibitions, while continuing to focus on innovations and new customer experience offerings for all our customer groups.”

Lionel Assant, European Head of Private Equity at Blackstone, added: “Under the leadership of Paul Thandi, a best in class management team and the support of LDC, the NEC has transformed its main site into a leading leisure, entertainment and business destination, which continues to benefit from a diverse customer base. We have tremendous respect for what has been achieved; NEC Group is iconic and we are excited about our new partnership as we look to leverage our firm’s capabilities in support of the team.”

According to a statement released by Blackstone, LDC originally backed a management buyout of the Group in January 2015. Since then, it has supported a four-year transformation programme to enhance sites, facilities and customer experience and broaden the range of events across the Group’s portfolio, supported by significant capital investment.

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