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RFID World Show Acquired by CMP Media

CMP Media yesterday announced the $12.3 million acquisition of Shorecliff Communications, the media and events company that hosts RFID World, one of the two or three leading annual industry shows.
Jan 12, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

January 12, 2006—CMP Media yesterday announced the $12.3 million acquisition of Shorecliff Communications, the media and events company that hosts RFID World, one of the two or three leading annual industry shows. Other RFID conferences it owns are RFID Europe, Factory Networks, and ePedigree Pharma. Acquirer CMP Media is a media company with exhibition and online properties in high tech, property, entertainment, jewelry, and fashion in the US, UK, Asia, and Europe. For IT professionals, some of its more well-known publications include TechWeb, InformationWeek, and Dr. Dobb's Journal. It's parent company is the UK's United Business Media, whose other main asset is PR Newswire.

RFID Update spoke with Shorecliff president Timothy Downs about the acquisition, which he believes will bring benefit to the wider RFID industry. Under CMP, the company will be able to scale its industry and technology promotion across the larger media company's broad portfolio of properties. "Now our efforts will be leveraged across multiple platforms." He continued, "This is our fourth year evangelizing RFID. We've been the leader in promoting and educating the enterprise community about the value of RFID. [The acquisition] is good for the industry and those companies that we serve because we will now have more breadth and scope to evangelize even better."

Shorecliff's RFID business appears to be a very successful one. The company announced in December that it had already sold out of exhibitor space for 2006's RFID World, to be held in Dallas from February 27th to March 1st. The 172 exhibitors represent a 35% increase over last year. Furthermore, Downs said yesterday that attendee registrations are already three times what they were this time last year for RFID World 2005.

Shorecliff is not focused on RFID exclusively, however; it also owns conferences and online and offline publications in IPTV and broadband and wireless infrastructure. Given Shorecliff's breadth of offerings across a number of emerging technology industries, the question from this industry's perspective would be: how much of CMP's perceived value of Shorecliff did the RFID properties represent? Downs wouldn't speculate on that point, but there are two clues that suggest RFID was a primary draw for CMP. First, in the announcement press release, RFID is listed first in every mention of the technologies which Shorecliff serves. Note the announcement's concluding quote from the head of CMP's Enterprise Group, Fritz Nelson: "We've been covering RFID vigorously and we think this is an exciting space that has implications on many industries and across many audiences. The IPTV market is moving at a considerable pace, and we want to be at the forefront of those developments."

Second, Shorecliff will become part of the Enterprise Group at CMP. Given that RFID is the most enterprise-focused technology in Shorecliff's coverage portfolio, it is probable that CMP chose to place Shorecliff in the enterprise division because of the weight given to RFID.

Another question would be whether the acquisition says anything about the RFID industry itself. Since many are predicting considerably increased RFID M&A activity in 2006, would this deal validate that prediction? Probably not. It likely has more to do with the climate in the media space than anything else. Indeed, Shorecliff was one of two acquisitions announced by CMP's parent United Business Media yesterday, the other being MediaLive International for $65 million.

Shorecliff is nine years old and has 18 employees, all of whom are located at the company's headquarters in Mission Viejo, California. It hosts between 15 and 20 events annually. According to the announcement, Shorecliff's business is expected to generate about $6 million in revenues this year.

Read the acquisition announcement
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