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Advanstar to Acquire Magic International


Advanstar Communications Inc. said it has agreed to buy Woodland Hills-based Magic International, producers of the largest apparel trade shows in the nation and abroad. The purchase price was not disclosed, but the deal was said to be valued at more than $200 million.

The purchase, announced Wednesday, would give Boston-based Advanstar--a worldwide marketing service that publishes 100 publications and produces about 100 trade shows and expositions--a stronghold in the apparel trade show market. Advanstar already provides business information and marketing services for four other industry clusters: health care and pharmaceuticals, information technology and communications, manufacturing and processing, and retail and hospitality.

"We've always wanted to be in the fashion market, and with one strike we've entered a market that we think is attractive," said Robert L. Krakoff, chairman and chief executive of Advanstar Holdings Inc. "This is extremely advantageous. It adds a high quality marquis to our rather large portfolio."

For Magic International, ranked No. 1 in size and in reputation among apparel shows last year by the publication Tradeshow Week, the acquisition would allow it to hold its shows in more than one venue at the same time to accommodate more exhibitors as well as buyers and sellers.

Magic produces its shows in February and August, attracting more than 7,000 exhibitors and 90,000 buyers and sellers from 128 countries each year at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Space limitations at the convention center, however, have forced Magic to turn away up to 800 exhibitors for one show, for example, many of those from international companies.

"The show will grow dramatically this August," said Krakoff, who added that Sands Hotel will also host part of the exhibition. Already, the show occupies 2 million square feet of exhibit space. August's event will also include Magic Sport, aimed at the sports apparel market.

The acquisition, to be completed at the end of April, would also give Magic good overseas connections, said Joe Loggia, president of Magic. Loggia will remain president of the company and act as general manager of Advanstar's Fashion and Apparel division.

Advanstar, owned by the San Francisco-based investment firm Hellman & Freedman, operates from 18 offices in the United States, and has offices in England, China and Brazil.

Loggia said there had been no discussions about raising fees for exhibitors. Currently, they pay $23 per square foot.

Founded in 1934 by a small group of Los Angeles menswear manufacturers, Magic became one of the primary showcases for men's apparel. In 1995, Women's Wear Daily joined with Magic to include women's apparel at its shows. Last summer, organizers introduced Magic Kids, for exhibitors of children's clothing.

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