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Arena Events Group targets global growth following takeover

Events solutions business Arena Events Group has entered into a new era following the closure of a deal that sees International Holding Company (IHC), the Abu Dhabi-headquartered multi-sector conglomerate, secure a majority stake in the firm.

First announced in October, the acquisition of a 70% stake in Arena for a total consideration of AED 239.8m (£48.8m/€58.4m/$65.3m) marks IHC’s entry into the global event and semi-permanent structures industry.

IHC has joined forces with existing Arena shareholder, Saudi Arabia-based TasHeel, to form a consortium that will run the firm moving forward. TasHeel was Arena’s existing largest shareholder and will see its stake rise from 23.9% to 30%.

Arena had been listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange, but following completion of the takeover, the cancellation of this listing took effect yesterday (Thursday). Paul Berger, the current Arena EMEA CEO, will transition to become Arena’s Global CEO.

Berger said: “I believe that this investment is a testament to both the immense potential that Arena has as a business, as well as the reputation that we have earned for delivering outstanding results for all our clients, including some of the largest events in the world.

“Arena’s focus has always been on its clients, and this investment will enable us to continue to enhance the quality, speed and efficiency of our delivery, which will in turn positively impact each of our clients’ projects.

“I see this as a period of tremendous opportunity for Arena and I believe that we will now have the support that we need to continue to grow and develop our world-leading offering in each of our global regions.”

Arena is headquartered in Wimbledon, England, and its clients include the Wimbledon Championships tennis grand slam. One of the world’s largest event and hospitality structure companies, Arena provides turnkey event solutions, such as temporary physical structures, modular construction, seating and grandstands, ice rinks, and interior fit out for a portfolio of major sporting, outdoor and leisure events in the UK, North America, Middle East and Asia.

Following completion of the deal, Arena announced that former chief executive Greg Lawless, along with Ken Hanna, Steve Trowbridge, Ian Metcalfe and Henry Turcan have tendered their resignations and stepped down from the board.

Newly appointed chairman of the Arena Events Group, Peter Abraam, said: “Arena’s established expertise, 15 global offices, 260-year heritage and 1,000-plus employees across multiple regions remain at the core of enhancing and growing our international footprint and offering.

“With the largest stock of clear span structure in America, and the second largest inventory of grandstand seating globally, Arena’s ambitions are limitless. IHC aims to provide Arena the backing to strengthen the foothold and capabilities of each of its territory headquarters in the UK, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East.

“With IHC’s expansive business channels, reach and presence, we believe we are now exceptionally placed to catapult Arena’s growth trajectory. We look forward to working closely with Paul and his senior team, who have all been an integral part of the journey so far, as Arena embarks on its next phase of growth alongside IHC.”

Syed Basar Shueb, CEO and managing director of IHC, added: “As the world emerges from a period of marked disruption to the events industry, bolstered by the global rollout of vaccination programmes and the opening up of international markets, we see great opportunity for rapid growth in this sector.

“We have already seen this bear fruit with Arena’s exciting new projects, including the (2022) Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the two newest Formula 1 grands prix in Miami and Jeddah, and golf events like the CJ Cup in Korea.”