Reuters has reported that Emerald Expositions, the largest operator of business-to-business trade shows in the United States, is exploring a sale that could value the company at close to $2bn, including debt.
The report says a deal for Emerald at such a price would underscore the value that business executives place on face-to-face meetings and networking, despite the advent of electronic communications such as video conferencing and instant messaging.
PE firm Onex Corp has hired Bank of America Corp to run an auction for Emerald, the sources reportedly said.
The sources added that Onex may pursue an initial public offering of Emerald if it is not satisfied with the acquisition offers it receives.
Emerald has roughly $160m in 12-month earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, the sources said.