dmg world media selling North American art, antiques businesses

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – International trade show producer dmg world media has announced the sale of its California Gift Show (CGS) to Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. (MMPI), and its intention to divest itself of various North American art and antiques-related companies currently in its ownership. Concurrently, dmg has announced the retirement of its chief operating officer, Michael Franks.

At the moment dmg is considering offers to sell its Knightstown, Indiana-based publishing operation, which produces Antique Week, Auction Exchange, and Farm World; plus the Naples, Florida-based Original Miami Beach Antique Show and its associated  fairs in Las Vegas, New York and Washington, in separate transactions. The company expects to announce the completion of these sales by this summer.
“This final stage of activity puts dmg world media nearer the strategic finish line here in North America,” said Mike Cooke, CEO dmg world media. “In 2007, we set out to reshape the business to focus more on fast-growing trade markets and less on consumer-based products.” Cooke said the properties that have been sold, or are expected to be sold, “are no longer a strategic fit for dmg world media, but still have great potential in their regional or niche markets.”

The sale of the California Gift Show was the first in a series of moves to narrow down the company’s North American gift operation. dmg world media will next seek a buyer for its gift trade shows in San Francisco, Seattle and Canada.

dmg first  acquired the Canadian gift shows as part of the company’s first major North American  acquisition of Southex, in 1996; followed by CGS , in 1998, from AMC. The three other West Coast shows were acquired from Western Exhibitors in 2001.

It is expected that the U.S. shows will be sold in one parcel and the Canadian shows in another. Talks are currently underway with prospective buyers, but no further details are available at this time. The deaccession plan does not affect the company’s remaining B2R operations in White Plains, N.Y. or Atlanta.

In April, dmg also completed the sale of its Sculptural Objects and Functional Arts (SOFA) business, which includes shows in New York, Chicago and Santa Fe, N.M.; and The Charlotte Antique Shows. The buyer was The Art Fair Company, a new enterprise formed by Michael Franks and a second former senior executive at dmg, Mark Lyman.

Since dmg world media first announced the results of a strategic review in 2007, the company has been working towards realigning its North American business by divesting itself of consumer-based products and, to a lesser extent, some regional trade businesses. A wholly owned subsidiary of the Daily Mail and General Trust plc (DMGT), dmg is an international trade show producer with principal operations across North America, Europe and Asia. dmg world media is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Daily Mail and General Trust plc (DMGT).