Blackstone’s International Market Centers to Buy AmericasMart

The merger, expected to close in the third quarter, will yield a company with 20 million square feet of permanent showroom accommodations.
AmericasMart, 240 Peachtree St. N.W., Atlanta
AmericasMart, 240 Peachtree St. N.W., Atlanta

Only eight months after Blackstone completed its joint venture acquisition of International Market Centers, the global investment firm reveals plans for a merger that will make IMC—already the world’s largest owner and operator of premier showroom space for the furniture, home decor and gift industries—an even more prominent player on the global stage. IMC just signed a deal to acquire AmericasMart, operator of the 7.1 million-square-foot AmericasMart exhibition center in Atlanta.

The merger of IMC and AmericasMart, expected to close in the third quarter, will serve as a springboard for something much larger. In a prepared statement, Tyler Henritze, a senior managing director with Blackstone, said the company will “further invest in and strengthen AmericasMart and, with our prior acquisition, create the global leader in the permanent showroom business.” 

 

AmericasMart, 75 John Portman Blvd. N.W., Atlanta
AmericasMart, 75 John Portman Blvd. N.W., Atlanta

The combined company, which will do business as International Market Centers, will own and operate approximately 20 million square feet of permanent showroom accommodations and will be the largest owner and operator of premier showroom space worldwide.

 

AmericasMart is the single-largest marketplace for the home décor, gift, area rug and apparel trades in the world, and will give IMC a new presence in the latter two arenas. The campus is the brainchild of architect-developer John Portman, who introduced the downtown Atlanta exhibition venue as a single facility in 1961. Today, AmericasMart offers square footage spanning three buildings: 240 Peachtree St. N.W., 40 John Portman Blvd. N.W. and 75 John Portman Blvd. N.W. The Portman name will remain an active part of AmericasMart, as Jeffrey Portman. Sr. will take on the role of advisor to IMC’s board.

Opportunity awaits

The U.S. is the largest market for trade shows in the global exhibitions market, according to a report by Arizton Advisory & Intelligence, and expansion is on the horizon. Economic growth and user demand for larger, modernized accommodations are expected to drive the business-to-business exhibitions market through 2023.

Blackstone and IMC are acting accordingly, with plans for the addition of a 350,000-square-foot convention and exposition center at IMC’s Las Vegas campus, as well as acquisition, construction and renovation activities at the High Point, N.C., location.

Images courtesy of AmericasMart