Easyfairs secures strategic investment from Cobepa and Inflexion

Easyfairs secures strategic investment from Cobepa and Inflexion

Cobepa and Inflexion join founder Eric Everard and management team to support Easyfairs’ growth ambitions.

Brussels, 30 May 2024 – Easyfairs, the Brussels-based international events company, has secured a strategic investment from Cobepa and Inflexion to start the next chapter of its impressive growth story. Cobepa, Inflexion and founder, Eric Everard, will be equally represented in the partnership. The transaction will enable Easyfairs to drive faster organic growth through new event launches and geo-cloning of existing events, extend its geographic and sector footprint, enhance its position as a sector frontrunner in big data and artificial intelligence technologies, and unlock further strategic M&A opportunities.

Easyfairs, one of the world’s top ten events companies, currently employs 820 talents across 20 offices in major European cities. It organises 110 event titles in 12 industry verticals, including packaging & logistics, manufacturing, industrial processing, hospitality and construction. The company welcomes annually more than one million visitors and 23,000 exhibitors to its events. In addition, Easyfairs manages multi-function venues in Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden, which play host to both Easyfairs and guest events. The group’s mission is to enable business and consumer communities to “visit the future” while building connections and offering life-changing experiences.

The partnership involves 3 investors. Cobepa, an independent, privately held investment company with offices in New York, Brussels, and Munich, is a well-recognised private equity investor with over €4.7 billion net asset value, offering a supportive partnership and stable capital base to accelerate growth to companies across a broad spectrum of sectors. Inflexion, a leading European mid-market private equity firm with €12 billion net assets value under management, invests in high-growth businesses and this investment is being made by Inflexion’s Partnership Capital Fund III. Additionally, the founder Eric Everard is reinvesting, further solidifying his commitment to the company’s future growth and success.

Cobepa and Inflexion view Easyfairs as an attractive investment opportunity in a sector that has proven its resilience and is still very fragmented. Jean-Marie Laurent Josi, CEO of Cobepa, commented, “We have been following Easyfairs for a long time and are impressed by how the company has sustainably built an international leadership position based on its differentiated and customer-focused approach to event organisation. We are delighted to partner with the incredibly driven and talented Easyfairs team to help further accelerate its international growth journey in the years to come.”

Flor Kassai, Partner at Inflexion, commented, “We have tracked the growth of Easyfairs for a number of years and have been impressed by its unique tech-enabled business model together with the excellent renewal rates and high levels of customer satisfaction. We look forward to working with Eric as founder together with the management team and using our strong industry experience to support Easyfairs execute its ambitious growth strategy.”

Easyfairs’ Founding Father and Group Chairman, Eric Everard, is delighted with the partnership. “More than 25 years of own investment has grown Easyfairs from a small Belgian start-up to a place in the global top ten in our sector. Now is the time to write the next chapter in our history with this exciting three-way partnership. I am thrilled to welcome Cobepa and Inflexion to be part of our success story, not least because they share our culture, values and vision, as well as bringing vast experience and expertise to the table.
Eric Everard who is reinvesting a significant portion of his majority stake in Easyfairs, commented: “I will be staying on board as Chairman and will remain closely involved with management to help drive the company forward.

Cobepa and Inflexion will support the existing Easyfairs management team, all of whom have worked for many years with Eric Everard. They include Group CEOs Anne Lafère and Matt Benyon, Group CFO Marc Hellemans and Group Head of M&A and Strategic Alliances Benoît David.

Anne Lafère emphasised some of the core strengths of the Easyfairs business model: “Over the years we have built a strong platform supported by a powerful technology backbone, streamlined business processes and an in-house Academy that brings our talents to their full potential. This is a platform for further expansion, now supported by Cobepa and Inflexion, both of which have a deep understanding of what’s important for dynamic and entrepreneurial businesses. We cannot wait to get started with them to continue achieving great things and having fun doing it!”

Matt Benyon added, “Exciting times ahead! We’re looking forward to accelerating the launch of new events, the geo-cloning of proven event concepts in new markets in Europe and beyond, and unlocking further merger and acquisition opportunities. Above all, this is great news for our exhibitors, visitors, employees and partners.”

The transaction is expected to close in Q3 2024, subject to receipt of regulatory approvals. Easyfairs was advised by J.P. Morgan Securities plc as its exclusive financial advisor, A&O Shearman, OC&C and PwC. Cobepa and Inflexion were advised by Rothschild & Co, White & Case, Deloitte, Bain & Company and Stax. The financial terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

Download the full press release

For further information, please contact:

Marie Ost
Easyfairs Group Communications Executive
[email protected]
+32 (0)496 40 60 28

Anne Lafère
Easyfairs Group CEO
[email protected]

Matt Benyon
Easyfairs Group CEO
[email protected]

Maïté Lefebvre
Cobepa Communication
and Sustainability Manager
[email protected]
+32 (0)2 213 32 06

Sarah Gestetner
Inflexion Head of Communications
[email protected]
+44 7767 481163