A few weeks ago, we announced that ISS parent company Virgo Publishing LLC has been purchased by Informa PLC, a London-based firm that provides information through academic publishing, events, training and business intelligence. In fact, Informa is the world’s largest publicly owned organizer of exhibitions and training, with more than 100 offices in 25 countries and events that take place all over the globe. Virgo is now officially part of Informa’s Global Exhibitions Group.
Since we made the announcement, we’ve received questions from readers, advertisers and other supporters about what this means for the ISS brand and audience. The simple answer is “potentially exciting things.”
In the immediate moment, there are very few, if any, outward-facing changes. From your perspective, everything is business as usual. If you’ve registered for the ISS Store or website, your account remains the same. If you’re subscribed to the newsletter or magazine, your mailings will be delivered per the regular schedule. We’ll continue to produce—and you’ll continue to enjoy—all the same information you’re accustomed to accessing, from articles and blogs to downloadable content to databases and lists, such as the Buyer’s Guide and Top-Operators List. Also, all systems are go for upcoming ISS events, including the Owner/Investor Executive Symposium and the 2015 ISS Expo.
But moving forward, the Virgo partnership with Informa could open doors for the ISS brand in particular and self-storage industry professionals in general, especially on the events side of the equation.
It’s true the primary motivator behind Informa’s purchase was Virgo’s Health & Nutrition Network, which is responsible for the successful Supplyside West event, a leading U.S. tradeshow in the health and nutrition market. SupplySide will complement Vitafoods, Informa’s leading exhibition brand within the health and nutrition sector in Asia, Europe and Latin America. The acquisition provides Informa with a platform through which to expand its U.S. exhibition activities.
That said, there are many other synergies being cemented in the merger. For the uninitiated, Virgo distributes information in several business-to-business markets. In addition to self-storage, we produce products around dietary supplements, healthy foods, cosmeceuticals, food-product design, animal nutrition, infection prevention, endoscopy, communications, and billing/OSS. Several of our brands mesh nicely with existing Informa offerings. Self-storage isn’t an immediate fit, but with such strong performance and immense upside potential, it’s attractive nonetheless.
Last week I had the pleasure to meet Informa CEO Will Morris and other key players in the company. “Nervous” doesn’t begin to describe how I felt walking into the conference room and shaking hands with the eight individuals who were visiting our Phoenix offices to set the integration plan and strategize our future. I was soon put at ease. These guys aren’t only brilliant, they’re extremely approachable with a wonderful sense of humor.
They were eager to learn about the storage business and how we can bring ISS to the next level. They asked astute questions about current programs and offered immediate insight for enhancement. They even shared the results of some of their acquisition due diligence, through which they conducted third-party surveys of the ISS audience. I was humbled and delighted to hear the positive comments they received during their polling, and we’re grateful to those of you who provided feedback. You made a great impression, so thanks for that!
The question Virgo CEO John Siefert has challenged us all to answer as we imagine the future of our business is, “How big is big?” It’s a question the ISS team is exploring as we get to know the Informa executive team and wrap our brains around the amazing scope of resources now available to help us grow our brand. At this point, we can’t say for certain what lies on the horizon, only that the path looks clear and bright.
We’ll share more information with you as developments unfold. For now, just continue to take advantage of the many resources we offer, knowing there may be grander things on the way. If you have any questions, comments or observations regarding the acquisition, feel free to post them in the comments section below.