An Interview with Corporate Development (M&A) Director, Alex Howe
Tell us about your background
I’m a qualified accountant (I try and keep that quiet!) and spent almost 15 years with EY in their transaction support team. I focused on financial due diligence for acquisitions in the technology and media space, working for clients such as RELX, Informa, Thomson Reuters, Sony Pictures and Vodafone. I left EY in 2018 and joined the Clarion Events Corporate Development team, which is when I started focusing on the events sector.
How did you start your career in events?
The biggest deal I did with Clarion was PennWell in the US, which had a strong portfolio of over 40 events across the world. We also acquired a large number of smaller single event businesses and integrated them in to the group. I love speaking to founders about their businesses and hearing their story. The passion that they display for the industries and communities they serve is really impressive.
Tell us about the acquisition with Influence Group – how did it come about?
We found out about Influence Group towards the end of 2020 through our network in the US and had initial conversations with the founders, Michael Owens and Michael McCarthy, in early 2021. During the first half of 2021, we learned more and more about the business and built up a really strong rapport with them. The more we learnt about both Influence Group and the founders the more we wanted to do the acquisition. The second half of 2021 was all about making it happen! Influence Group ran their full event calendar of eight events in the autumn in a condensed period so we were very conscious about safeguarding the events and not making too many demands on both Michaels.
What excites your most about the future of CloserStill Media?
CloserStill has really ambitious growth plans and feels like a coiled spring ready to explode coming out of the last two years. In my mind, the combination of great people in the business, great backers in Providence and an existing business of exceptional quality makes CloserStill a great place to be!