Providence Said to Be in Talks to Buy Events Organizer Clarion

Providence Equity Partners is in talks to buy Clarion Events, organizer of the London International Horse Show, for about 250 million pounds ($391 million), people with knowledge of the matter said.

Private-equity peers Carlyle Group LP and Charterhouse Capital Partners were interested but are no longer bidding, said three people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. The deal could be announced as soon as January, two people said.

Private-equity firms have been increasingly focusing on smaller deals as competition and pricing for large leveraged buyouts remains high. As of September, buyouts of European companies with annual sales between $10 million to $1 billion accounted for 92 percent of the market, the highest level since at least 2005, according to Seattle-based PitchBook Data Inc.

Clarion, which can trace its origins back to 1947, is currently owned by private-equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson, which bought the company from HgCapital for 120.5 million pounds in 2008, according to HgCapital’s website. Clarion organizes the Counter Terror Expo and Forensics Europe Expo at Olympia, London, among other events, according to its website.

Spokesmen for Carlyle, Charterhouse, Providence and VSS declined to comment. A representative for Clarion didn’t respond to telephone requests seeking comment.

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