Published: June 12, 2001
DMG World Media Purchases IFAE Fairs for over $18 Million
By Carol Sims
LONDON, ENGLAND – DMG world media has purchased Palm Beach International Art & Antiques Fair, Art Palm Beach, the Palm Beach Town & Country International Exposition, and the Texas International Fine Art Fair, organized by IFAE of Stuart, Fla., for over $18 million.
David Lester, on the way to the airport June 8, with his wife Lee Ann, was unable to comment on the sales price. ”I really can’t talk about the financial agreement,” said Lester. The couple was on their way to Europe.
DMG world media has formed a new international division within its art and antiques sector to specialize in organizing high-end fairs. David and Lee Ann Lester, as well as the entire staff of International Fine Art Exposition, will continue to manage the shows and will form the nucleus of the new international group. Staff headquarters will remain in Stuart, Fla.
IFAE currently manages four annual fairs. They are The Texas International Fine Art Fair, held in Dallas, and three in West Palm Beach: the upscale flagship show titled Palm Beach International Art & Antiques Fair; artpalmbeach, which has a contemporary emphasis; and Palm Beach Town & Country Art & Antiques Exposition, a show that is mid-market.
The Palm Beach Daily News reported in their Thursday through Saturday, June 7 through 9, 2001, edition that before the acquisition, Lester intended to launch a ”massive Maastrict-style fair in October at the State University of New York campus in Purchase.” Its debut is now expected to be fall of 2002.
“It is an important step in our long-term strategy to add international events of such outstanding caliber to the growing dmg world media art and antiques portfolio,” said Mark Carr, executive vice president of the art and antiques division. “We are especially pleased that David and Lee Ann Lester have chosen us as their business partners and that they have agreed to head our new group specializing in prestigious international fairs in future years.”
“Clearly, there is an ongoing consolidation and realignment at every level within the international art and antiques markets,” said David Lester. “Lee Ann and I recognized that the time was propitious for us to align our fairs with a strong, respected international partner with a long-term commitment to this market sector.”
He further noted, “It is increasingly difficult for smaller independent firms such as IFAE to have the necessary resources to make a significant impact in today’s increasingly competitive international markets. Through this partnership with dmg world media, our fairs will now have substantial new resources available to create even more global marketing power for our clients.”
“Our art and antiques sector will continue to aggressively seek new opportunities and venues throughout the world,” noted Mark Carr. “We believe the demand for first quality art and antiques fairs exist elsewhere, and we will encourage and enable this new group to launch new shows to serve international art and antiques dealers in the coming years.”
When asked if he approached dmg world media, or if they came to him, David Lester replied, ”Let’s just say our paths crossed.”
dmg world media produces 260 public shows and trade exhibitions worldwide and a diverse mix of conferences, publications, and online services. It has shows and publications in North American, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East, operating out of 33 offices in nine different countries. A major newspaper publisher, dmg owns the Daily Mail, the Evening Standard, and numerous newspapers throughout the United Kingdom. Significant holdings in the art and antiques sector include Antique Trade Gazette (UK), Antique Week (US), the Original Miami Beach Antiques Show (US), and more than 100 regional art and antiques fairs and events in the United States, United Kingdom, and France.
When asked if he expected events coverage in Antique Week and Antique Trade Gazette to further enhance the public awareness of his shows, David Lester said, ”We have always gotten great press. I don’t expect any favoritism.”
In addition to the recently acquired IFAE fairs, dmg owns interests in other US shows. They bought 25 percent of George Little Management, a large trade show company, and all of Picadilly Promotions, which runs monthly antiques and collectibles fairs at the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach, and the original Miami Beach Antiques Show.
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