Sign in or Register | Newsletter

Register today to receive each issue absolutely FREE!

Events are increasingly using experiential aids to spice up seminar...

EN shines the spotlight on Kruger Cowne CEO Mark Cowne, the man...

Andrew Manby, director of the event solutions specialists talks to EN...

As Media 10 gears up for the launch of new hybrid event, UK...

Furniture is increasingly becoming an integral part of events, EN...

With Mash Media set to open a new event next year, EN catches up with...

Exhibition News October 2015
October 2015

Read it online
now for free!

Ocean hits back at sell-off claims
posted on: 19/7/2011 12:14:06
iStock 20 pound notes moneyRESIZED

Ocean Media Group’s chief executive has hit back at speculation that the company is being divided up or sold off following a bank takeover.

CEO Trevor Barratt told EN Ocean’s bank assumed control of shareholder equity in March to deal with longstanding issues over Ocean’s balance sheet. The decision arose from the need to tackle the debt owed by the exhibition and publishing company, which is more than its current business value.

EN understands the historic debt to the bank to be about £60m. It has its roots in the November 2007 acquisition of Ocean headed up by investment firm AAC Capital Partners for £104m. According to AAC Partners, Ocean’s turnover at the time was £27m.

Barratt claimed the deal was the right price at the time but admitted businesses are no longer selling at 10x or 12x turnover multiples.

“Our balance sheet is overleveraged and the bank has stepped in to take control of the business and restructure it,” Barratt explained. “This process has not yet been completed.

“The business is not being sold off or our assets broken up. We are a profitable business that has continued to grow even during the downturn. Events have been a very positive part of that and we have continued to grow our exhibitions and launch new shows.

“The area of our business that suffered the most has actually been print and the print recruitment advertising market.”

Barratt said the bank’s decision to step in has no impact on day-to-day operations or management structure across the exhibitions and publishing divisions. Ocean recently announced plans for a new Venue Show to run alongside its Event Production Show in 2012.

“Something needed to happen to deal with the issue. We have a good relationship with Anglo Irish Bank and I am confident this will be resolved in a way that helps our business get to a better place,” Barratt said. “It’s business as usual for us.”

Ocean’s exhibition MD James Brooks-Ward also viewed the bank’s intervention as a positive.

“The banks aren’t going to sell this business for peanuts,” he added. “This is all about retaining the value of the business long-term.”

Send all your UK exhibition industry news to:


Share article:

Would you like to Leave a Comment?


The Event Production Awards (EPAs) will return for its fifth outing on 12 February 2016, organiser Mash Media has announced today (2 October).

Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), owner of Lord’s Cricket Ground, has announced the appointment of five new members to its hospitality and events teams.

ITE Group has reported that the firm remains in a strong financial position, with Q4 performance in line with management expectations.

More than 1,600 visitors attended Scotland’s Trade Fair Autumn at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) last week, reported organiser Springboard Events.

The International Convention Centre (ICC) Birmingham has revealed it will be moving ahead with a three-year £10m refurbishment programme to “improve the customer experience and freshen up the venue”.