United Drug acquires World Events Group in £16.2m deal

United Drug has acquired healthcare and pharmaceutical events specialist World Events Group for £13.5m, with a further payment of £2.7m due over a three-year period based on achieving profit targets.

United Drug acquires World Events Group
United Drug acquires World Events Group

United Drug is an Irish public company that provides event management solutions to the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector.  

It acquired Procon Conferences in 2007, and Universal Conference and Incentive Travel in 2008, forming Universal Procon.   

United Drug chief executive Liam Fitzgerald said: "United Drug is delighted to welcome World Events Group into its family of complementary businesses, all of which provide services to the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. This acquisition strengthens and expands our existing event management presence provided by Universal Procon."  

World Events has offices in the UK, the US, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Netherlands, France and Germany. Its head office will remain in Yorkshire. 

Keene steps down

 
World Events Group founder and chairman Graham Keene said:  "Having steered the World Events Group to this point, I am now pleased to hand it over to United Drug.  United Drug is in a strong position to expand World Events Group’s global presence and propel the business to even greater success. I aim to step away from the business now, but will be delighted to witness the continued progress that World Events Group will undoubtedly make".

 
All other members of the World Events Group board are remaining with the company. Chief executive Martin Parry will report in to United Drug main board director Chris Corbin.  

Growth  

Parry told C&IT: "As a privately-owned company we have limited access to funds. There are large opportunities for global agencies to meet global clients' requirements. We want World Events to be one of the top global event agencies and need funding to accelerate that growth. With United Drug behind us we will be well placed to accelerate our growth and our investment in other services we will be able to offer our clients.’’  

A strategic review of United Drug’s global event management businesses will be carried out over the next three months, to "determine how the companies will best work together", he added.

Fitzgerald said: "We aim to identify the optimum structure to best meet our pharmaceutical and healthcare clients’ current and future needs.  We anticipate this review concluding in early 2011."

Parry said World Events' strength in Europe and plans to expand in Asia would mean it can work well in the division alongside Universal Procon, which has a strong US presence.

He added: "2010 will be better than expected for World Events in terms of revenue and profit."

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