New Business Deals: South Florida Ventures, NTWRK and More Scoop Up Events and Competitors, Grow Portfolios

April 1, 2024

As spring takes hold across the U.S., event companies have been busy completing and announcing fresh acquisitions and strategic partnerships to bolster their businesses and expand their market share. Here’s our latest roundup of recent business deals and partnerships happening in the trade show industry.

Newport International Boat Show Joins South Florida Ventures Portfolio

The Newport International Boat Show (NIBS) has joined the growing portfolio of high-end boating and yachting events managed by South Florida Ventures, a luxury lifestyle division of Informa Markets. The company acquired the annual show from The Newport Restaurant Group (NRG) owner and producer of the 53-year-old event, which occupies more than 13 acres of historic downtown Newport, RI, and boasts a lineup of more than 600 showcasing an extensive array of power and sailboats, marine accessories, products and services. 


As the first Northeast addition for South Florida Ventures’ boating portfolio, the next NIBS is set to take place Sept. 12-15 in the historic waterfront of downtown Newport. 

“NIBS is a standout show, reflecting the vibrancy of the boating community in the Northeast,” said Andrew Doole, president of U.S. boat shows, South Florida Ventures. “This partnership signifies a true collaboration, driven by a shared dedication to customer satisfaction, community and a mutual interest in the future growth of NIBS and its brand.”

The acquisition comes as South Florida Ventures has rapidly expanded over the past five years, acquiring and launching specialized businesses and brands catering to the luxury lifestyle sector, including, most recently, the Miami International Boat Show. Its successful ventures include the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Palm Beach International Boat Show, the St. Petersburg Power and Sailboat Show and the Suncoast Boat Show. 

“South Florida Ventures is the ideal partner to lead the Newport International Boat Show into its next evolution,” said Lisa Knowles, NIBS show director. “This collaboration ensures that NIBS will maintain its renowned quality while gaining access to innovation, insights and cutting-edge technologies, enriching the experience for exhibitors and attendees alike. We eagerly anticipate welcoming everyone to an even more remarkable 2024 show in September!”

NTWRK Acquires Complex Networks 

Aaron Levant, NTWRK
Aaron Levant, NTWRK

Livestream shopping platform NTWRK has acquired global streetwear, music and sports-centric media company Complex Networks in a deal that will create a new entity that will be “a new destination for ‘superfan’ culture” and bring an e-commerce marketplace into the former media brand’s ecosystem, according to officials from the two companies.

NTWRK is acquiring Complex from Buzzfeed, which purchased the streetwear-focused media company in 2021 for $300 million. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

NTWRK Co-founder and CEO Aaron Levant, who initially created NTWRK alongside Jamie Iovine and Gaston Dominguez-Letelier, and co-founded the music and style culture superfan event ComplexCon with Complex founder Marc Ecko in 2016, has been tapped as the CEO of the new company. 

“Complex has been a beacon of culture and innovation for over two decades,” Levant said in a recent statement. “My journey with Complex began as an admirer of their original magazine in 2002 and it has now come full circle as I step into the leadership role. Alongside this impressive team, we will create the definitive global content, commerce and experiential platform of convergence culture.”

The Rogers Company Acquires SCALISE Exhibits

Exhibit and display solutions provider The Rogers Company acquired SCALISE Exhibits, a trade show design and fabrication company founded in 1997 and based in Erie, Penn. SCALISE Exhibits personnel will join the Rogers team just a short drive from their current location. 

Rick Busby, Rogers
Rick Busby, Rogers

“We are thrilled to welcome SCALISE Exhibits to the Rogers family,” said Rogers President Rick Busby. “Their expertise and talented team are a great addition to our existing capabilities. We welcome SCALISE’s staff and clients and are eager to exceed their expectations.” 

With more than 165,000 square feet of storage and fabrication space in Mentor, Ohio, and Las Vegas, Rogers’ products and services include custom booth design and fabrication, an extensive rental inventory, modular and portable displays, corporate lobbies, showrooms, roadshows and special events. Founded in 1945 by scenic artist Van Rogers, the company’s experiential marketing services also include in-house design, graphics, technology, logistics, I&D and storage services.

“We are excited to join forces with Rogers and leverage their resources to drive continued growth,” said Doug Scalise, former partner of SCALISE Exhibits and now account executive at Rogers. “Together, we are well-positioned to deliver more products and services and even greater value to our clients.”

Northwest Event Show Partners With EventMobi

The Northwest Event Show (NWES), an industry gathering for event professionals in the Pacific Northwest, has partnered with event management platform EventMobi. NWES 2024, taking place April 3-4 at the Seattle Convention Center, will leverage EventMobi’s platform to cultivate an engaged community with ongoing networking, engagement and learning opportunities for more than 3,000 industry professionals year-round. 

Lisa Schulties, NWES
Lisa Schulties, NWES

NWES is transforming its two-day conference into a year-round event community by: 

  • Uploading session recordings and presentations, as well as hosting webinars, on the same platform 
  • Enabling forum discussions to support networking for local planners before and after the event 
  • Creating sponsorship opportunities by offering an interactive buyers guide where business partnerships can form post-event
  • Leveraging the event platform as a communication hub to share industry-relevant updates via emails
  • Simplifying the promotion and registration of local events, webinars and next year’s conference to an already-engaged user base

“This new partnership with EventMobi isn’t just about enhancing the NWES 2024 experience, it’s about laying the foundation for a robust, engaged network that lives beyond the confines of our event dates,” said NWES Executive Director Lisa Schulteis.

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