Northstar Travel Group has acquired CAT Media, a global multiplatform business-to-business marketing services, information and events business serving the meetings and incentives industry in the United Kingdom. Based near London, CAT Media owns Meetings & Incentive Travel, Association Meetings International, Meetpie.com, M&IT Challenges, M&IT Awards, VenueSource.com and ConventionSource.com.
“The combination of the CAT Media portfolio with Northstar’s The Meetings Show in London creates a strong multiplatform marketing services, information and events portfolio in the U.K. and Europe,” said Thomas Kemp, chairman and CEO of Northstar Travel Group. “Both Northstar Meeting Group and CAT Media have been industry leaders not only through our respective brands, but through the innovative ways we’ve advanced them. We’re excited to merge the best practices of both through this acquisition.”
CAT Media is the dominant information source in the U.K. meetings and events industry, with print, digital and face-to-face audience engagement products developed over the company’s 32-year lifespan. Among the company's signature brands is the M&IT Industry Awards program, which brings together all sectors of the business to reward excellence and raise funds for charity -- more than US$1 million, to date.
“We are pleased to complete this transaction with Northstar to create scale and a multiplatform media, events and marketing services business serving the U.K. and European meetings and incentive industry,” said Martin Lewis, managing director of CAT Media. “After 32 years of developing our activities in this fast-changing market, this is a good time to marry our products with Northstar to give our business critical mass and enable it to become part of a truly global media footprint in the travel and events business.”
Northstar’s leading brands in the meetings segment include Meetings & Conventions, Successful Meetings, Incentive, Meeting News and SportsTravel in North America, as well as M&C Asia and M&C China. “We’re delighted to welcome the CAT Media brands to the Northstar family,” said David Blansfield, executive vice president and group publisher, Northstar Meetings Group. “Taken together with The Meetings Show, the U.K.’s largest MICE industry hosted-buyer show, the addition of CAT Media extends our breadth and depth in service of supporting the meetings industry.”
“We are delighted for our friends at CAT Publications and Northstar Meetings Group at this news," said Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX Group. "As strong partners of both organizations, we see great value in the Northstar purchase of CAT Publications – one of the strongest global private media organizations in the industry. We look forward to continuing to work with CAT and with Northstar over the coming months and years.”
The move specifically underscores Northstar's commitment to expand its international reach. "In an increasingly global industry, the acquisition further strengthens Northstar as the preeminent media and information services company in the travel and meetings marketplace," noted Caroline Pidroni, head of Convention Bureau North America for the Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau. "I’m looking forward to continuing my longstanding relationship with the ever-growing Northstar Meetings Group family."
CAT Media will become part of the Northstar Meetings Group, reporting directly to Northstar Travel Group U.K. portfolio director David Chapple in London and working closely with David Blansfield.
The news comes just one day after Northstar announced two other major acquisitions, Buying Business Travel, serving the corporate travel marketplace, and travAlliancemedia, an important player in the retail travel space.
Buying Business Travel, previously owned by London-based Panacea Media, is the leading business-to-business brand in the United Kingdom, serving the corporate travel industry with online media, events and print magazines.
The acquisition of travAlliancemedia adds key retail travel brands to Northstar’s portfoilio, including TravelPulse.com, TravelPulse Canada, Agent at Home, Travel Agent Academy, Agent Studio and a portfolio of custom content solutions, marketing services, and software and marketing tools.
With these three important acquisitions, said Northstar chairman and CEO Kemp, “We have expanded our global footprint, strengthened our positions in core markets and added strong brands and talent across three of our strategic market segments: retail/leisure travel, corporate travel and the meetings and incentive market."