NEW YORK – Publicly traded events producer Emerald Holding Inc. acquired media and events company MJBiz in an all-cash deal valued at $120 million—nearly half Emerald’s market value. MJBiz produces MJBizCon and the scientific symposium The Emerald Conference (which it acquired in 2021), along with several print and digital trade publications for the cannabis and hemp industries. Emerald is backed by Toronto-based investment manager Onex Corporation.
An earn-out provision could net MJBiz’s former owners an additional $30 to $50 million in cash by early 2023.
The MJBiz deal is Emerald’s first foray into the cannabis industry. The company also produces business-to-business (B2B) trade shows in sectors including design, equipment, retail, safety and security, and technology. In all, Emerald produces about 140 events annually.
According to MJBiz, its most recent show in November 2021 attracted 1,200 exhibitors and 27,000 attendees (18,000 of whom paid to register). Overall, the company’s 2021 revenues totaled about $27 million.
MJBiz is the third cannabis-media organization to be snapped up by a large mainstream player in as many months. In September, global business-media conglomerate Crain Communications acquired digital financial news outlet Green Market Report for an undisclosed sum. Private-equity firm Beringer Capital acquired a majority interest in Benzinga, a digital publisher of stock-market news and analysis, in an October deal valued at $300 million.
Most of the MJBiz management team, including Chief Executive Officer Chris Walsh, Senior Vice President of Events and Sales Jess Tyler, and Senior Vice President of Content and Audience Development Pam Moore, will remain on staff. Cofounders and board of directors members Anne Holland and Cassandra Farrington will serve as consultants.