A major player in the events industry has been acquired: – We are hungry for more

A major player in the events industry has been acquired: – We are hungry for more

Consolidation in the events industry is really gaining momentum.

In June, DN wrote that Norway’s oldest event agency and one of the top three, Gyro, had been acquired by Finland’s Liwlig Group. This group, which since 2020 has bought a number of event agencies in the Nordic countries, has already acquired the Norwegian 6.sans Gruppen.

Now the main player Z Event is also sold out.

Hungry for more

The buyer of Z Event is DSD Explore, owned by the billion-dollar DSD Group (formerly Det Stavanger Dampskipsselskap) where Yuhong Hermansen (55), widow of Folke Hermansen, is the largest owner.

-We have made several acquisitions in the past year, including activity company Xxlofoten, events company Crazy Coyote in Trondheim, and travel companies Fjord Travel and Go Fjords in Bergen. But we were looking for the big mover in the events industry in Eastern Norway. There, Z Event rose to prominence very quickly, says Terje Hatlen-Stokke, managing director of DSD Explore.

Z Event may not be the most well-known of the big event planning companies, but since its inception in 2008 it has been in a class of its own in terms of results, he says.

The deal also includes Z Event’s Reisverket, which brings together events and travel domestically and abroad, as well as communications agency Y Story.

Hatlen-Stokke will not say anything about the price of the event and tour group Z Event in the deal, but with an operating profit before depreciation of more than NOK 35 million last year, there is reason for a price estimate of more than NOK 300. million.

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– It is a significant investment as Z Event owners will also remain important owners of DSD Explore, he says.

-And now you are full?

– no not yet. We are hungry for more and are looking for more people and more companies. We have a clear ambition to be the most forward-looking Norwegian tourism organization in Norway. Behind us we have a group of 5,500 employees and a turnover of more than five billion Norwegian kroner.

On Friday morning, employees of the Z Event Group here in Pilestredet in Oslo were informed of the sale.  When DN met with buyer Terje Hatlen-Stokke (left) and Thomas Strandskogen of Z Events on Thursday afternoon, photos had to be taken outside.

On Friday morning, Z Event staff here in Pilestredet, Oslo, were informed of the sale. When DN met with buyer Terje Hatlen-Stokke (left) and Thomas Strandskogen of Z Events on Thursday afternoon, photos had to be taken outside. (Photo: Gabriel S Skalifec)

Many suitors

-We’ve had a lot of knocks on our door here, including the Finnish company that bought Gyro. But it was only when we got a visit from Terry from DSD Explore that we became a match, says Thomas Strandskogen, co-founder and 25 percent owner of Z Event.

Nearly 30 employees at the group were informed of the sale on Friday morning.

– We believe in the continuity of Norwegian ownership and believe that this is also important for customers. So that was an important part of the decision to sell. At the very least, he adds, it’s about a common strategy to build a movement of people who will make our clients’ dreams come true.

-And will you continue as shareholders in DSD Explore?

– Yes, to those degrees. He says all Z Event shareholders will continue to participate, without wanting to put a price tag on Z Event in the deal.

Strandskogen describes the events market as fiercely competitive.

– The most important thing is to have the best people who deliver every time quality that creates good customer experiences. While it is generally difficult for clients to hire good people, it is important to build an internal culture with shared goals that helps them stay with the company. It is believed that the events are important there and will be important.

– But there won’t be any repeat of last year’s records, right?

– No, 2022 was a violent year with many customers who had to make up for what they lost after the pandemic. We won’t reach the same numbers this year, but we will continue to grow from 2019, the previous normal year. We believe that growth will continue.

– He never regretted it

Gyro and Z Event, both now sold, are among the big three companies in the Norwegian events industry. The third company – and the largest with sales last year of NOK 355 million – is JCP, Just Cruzin Production, where Øystein Tinning is chairman of the board and largest owner.

– I think it is not abnormal to assume that we have also recently contacted potential buyers. But since our founding in 1998, we’ve always said no, and never regretted it, he says.

– But for now, we really appreciate being independent and employee-owned. “I find that clients also think this is a good thing,” he says.

What do you think is the background of the merger?

– It probably has to do with what happened with the building of larger units in the Nordics in digital advertising and marketing coupled with the idea that more and more decisions are being made in the Nordics rather than at a national level. But this is not our experience, and for our part we think it is important to be local.

Billion market

Bodil Sven Berggren, managing director of the Sponsors and Events Association, says it is difficult to estimate the total turnover in the events market because many companies do much more than just events.

– But the total sales of the 15 largest event organizing agencies in Norway are more than NOK 2.2 billion, she said.

But the overall market is much larger than this. Berggren points to an analysis from Sponsor Insight that estimates that just within event marketing, which are external marketing events where participants pay nothing, turnover amounts to more than NOK 2.6 billion. In addition, there are thus all events for employees.(conditions)Copyright Dagens Næringsliv AS and/or our suppliers. We would like you to share our cases using links that lead directly to our pages. No copying or other use of all or part of the Content may be permitted except with written permission or as permitted by law. For more terms see here.

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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