Is Cvent for Sale?

The event technology giant is exploring a sale to a private-equity firm, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Cvent Connect 21 Reggie Aggarwal
Cvent cofounder and CEO Reggie Aggarwal at the Cvent Connect hybrid event in August 2021. Photo Credit: Cvent

Event-tech giant Cvent is exploring the possibility of becoming a private company once again, according to unnamed sources in an article published by the Wall Street Journal. The possible sale could value the technology supplier at more than $4 billion, the story says, and has attracted interest from multiple private-equity firms, Blackstone among them.

The event-technology market is in a state of flux thanks to a precipitous drop in demand for virtual-event platforms. Although Cvent has been a major market force since well before the pandemic, before the WSJ published this week's report the company's shares had lost nearly half their value from an early 2021 high, according to the newspaper. Shares closed nearly 23 percent higher Tuesday after the WSJ report, according to Reuters. Share price has dropped a bit over the ensuing two days but still remains well above what it was before the WSJ article came out.

Cvent has been navigating transitions between publicly traded and a privately held company for some time. The company went private in 2016 thanks to a $1.65 billion acquisition by Vista Equity Partners, after drawing government scrutiny over potential competition concerns. Vista already owned Cvent competitor Lanyon, and the acquisition saw Lanyon's platform absorbed into the Cvent ecosystem. The Department of Justice gave the deal the green light in November 2016.

Some five years later, riding high on the pandemic-era success of its virtual- and hybrid-event technology retooling, Cvent reentered public trading in December 2021 through a special acquisition deal with Dragoneer Investment Group. Vista still owned roughly an 80 percent stake in Cvent as of March 2022, according to the WSJ.

Many of Cvent's event-technology competitors, including Bizzabo, Hopin and Hubilo, among others, have laid off significant percentages of their respective work forces in recent months as they restructured to adjust to the change in demand. Likewise, recent layoffs have been announced at major technology players such as Salesforce, Google parent Alphabet and Microsoft, all of whom had previously been mentioned by analysts and pundits as potential suitors in event-technology acquisitions.

A Cvent spokesperson said only that the company does not comment on market rumors or speculation.