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Volume 21 No. 1
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American City Business Journals acquires half of international B-to-B event producer Leaders

American City Business Journals, parent company of SportsBusiness Journal/Daily, has acquired a 50 percent stake in Executive Sport Ltd., the international sports business-to-business event and networking business operating under the brand name Leaders.

Terms of ACBJ’s investment in ESL were not disclosed.

Leaders produces five events in New York, London and Lisbon, Portugal, that bring together senior executives across the sports business and performance communities. In addition to the conferences, Leaders produces custom events for the NFL, NBA and UFC. The company also launched its Insights unit  to develop additional content.

ESL founder and CEO James Worrall and COO Simon Lau, owners of the London-based company, will spearhead the continued international expansion of Leaders as well as create events across other industry sectors under the Leaders brand name.

ACBJ sees Leaders as a natural fit with its current business platforms.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to help Leaders grow, and I am especially pleased that this is the first true step beyond the U.S. for our sports business group,” said ACBJ President and CEO Whitney Shaw. “Because of our ownership of SportsBusiness Journal, SportsBusiness Daily, our Global edition and our own sports conference group, we knew firsthand of Leaders. What we loved most about the company was the strength and flexibility of its brand, the international reputation of its events and the fact that the business has shown year-on-year growth in a competitive sector every year from its start seven years ago.”

Worrall said ACBJ is well-suited to help Leaders grow.

“It was incredibly flattering to receive an approach from ACBJ several months ago,” he said. “With Simon and I retaining 50 percent of the business alongside such an influential group of businesses in media and publishing, we hope to accelerate our growth over the next five years.”

— Staff report