Raccoon Media Group (Raccoon) is set to double its portfolio in the first year since it was acquired by Cuil Bay Capital (CBC) with the acquisition of Abilities Expo in the USA. This announcement brings Raccoon’s UK and US show portfolio to 17 events with more launches and acquisitions to be announced later in the year.
Abilities Expo, a series of seven exhibitions running across the USA, provides solutions for people with disabilities, their families and their carers and currently sees over 30 thousand visitors attending its events each year. The purchase will bolster Raccoon’s footing in the health and wellbeing market in the USA and joins Snowbound Expo, The Boston Run Show and The Boston Outdoor Expo in the company’s US portfolio.
Abilities live and digital properties connect the disability community to a wide range of resources to help improve accessibility and promote greater independence. Solutions cover but are not limited to disability focused products and services ranging from adaptive sports and wheelchair dancing to service animal demonstrations and hot button workshops such as travel and home design, financial planning and more.
Part of a large-scale growth strategy, the first event under Raccoon’s ownership will be Abilities LA on 15-17 March at Los Angeles Convention Centre with staff and service providers retained under the new ownership. The company will go on to run events in New York, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Ft. Lauderdale culminating in Dallas in December 2024.
Speaking of the purchase, Mike Seaman, Raccoon Media Group CEO, commented: “The Abilities portfolio is a fantastic business focused on delivering mobility and support to the disability community. This aligns perfectly with our strategy to run events that focus on healthy, active and sustainable markets. This acquisition also ties in with our desire to grow in the US, tripling the number of events we have there. I’m equally excited about working with the incredible team who deliver these shows – they are incredibly talented and provide us with a strong platform for additional future growth. The Abilities CEO Lew Shomer will remain with the business and will ensure a smooth and effective transition. Lew is a brilliant entrepreneur and well respected by the community, so it was important to us to keep him involved in order to develop the event sensitively and within the best interests of the disability community. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank David Korse, Lew’s business partner for his support throughout the transaction and for helping to build such a fantastic community and business.”
CBC, an investment vehicle led by exhibition industry entrepreneur Doug Emslie, former CEO of Tarsus Group, acquired Raccoon Media Group in September 2023 with the aim of growing and diversifying the company and expanding its reach from predominantly B2C exhibitions to include a strong B2B offering and to drive the company on an aggressive growth path in both the UK and US. Emslie commented:
“Our goal is to work alongside entrepreneurs who, like Mike with the launch of National Running Show, have spotted a gap in a market and have built exciting products in the healthy, activity and mobility industries. We see more of these acquisitions taking place over the coming year and look forward to working with entrepreneurs like Lew and David who I’ve known for over 20 years to help take brands and businesses to the next level with our experienced team behind us.”
Abilities offers solutions covering but not limited to general disability, mobility issues, sensory and intellectual disabilities, adaptive sports, assistance animals, dancing disease, disorders, healthcare, travel, transportation, caregivers and seniors.
Raccoon media Group was advised on the transaction by Mayfield Merger Strategies.