International Market Centers and AmericasMart are now collectively the world's largest operator-owner of showroom space. The merger announcement, made yesterday, noted that the two have entered into an agreement, but it did not disclose financial details. The partnership will be called International Market Centers and will own and operate almost 20 million square feet of permanent showroom space in High Point, Las Vegas and Atlanta. Each of the markets will continue to use its existing name and branding, but best practices, technology and personnel will be shared across the firms.
Current IMC CEO Robert Maricich will become CEO of the new group. “IMC has always had immense respect for AmericasMart and its founders, the Portman family, who established a tremendous reputation in the industry,” he said. “We look forward to bringing together our two companies to provide exhibitors with exceptional access to global markets, and buyers with even more convenient opportunities to explore top products across sectors.”
AmericasMart numbers 7.1 million square feet of space in downtown Atlanta; it hosts 17 annual markets and shows, including The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market and The Atlanta International Area Rug Market, and counts nearly 200,000 attendees per year. The commerce hub and city landmark was imagined by architect-developer John Portman and opened 60 years ago. “AmericasMart has long served as a crossroads of commerce,” said Jeffrey L. Portman Sr. “This joining of the incredibly powerful talents and resources present in both organizations will sustain and advance that role for the ultimate benefit of the customers we jointly serve.”
Blackstone Real Estate Partners and Blackstone Tactical Opportunities acquired IMC last year as part of a partnership with Fireside Investments. IMC, which spans 12.2 million square feet in Las Vegas and High Point, is the world’s largest owner and operator of showroom space for the furniture, home decor and gift industries. Blackstone has, since 2012, invested in $5 billion worth of other real estate properties in the Atlanta region.
Tyler Henritze, Blackstone senior managing director and head of U.S. real estate acquisitions, said, “Having grown up in Atlanta, I am well aware of the tremendous contributions the Portman family has made to the city and in building AmericasMart into the leader it is today. On behalf of Blackstone and IMC, we are excited to build on this legacy, to further invest in and strengthen AmericasMart, and, with our prior acquisition, create the global leader in the permanent showroom business.”
“This announcement to combine with AmericasMart, coupled with our continued investment in High Point and Las Vegas, demonstrates our enthusiasm about the expansion of our core business and our optimism for the future of markets for the furniture, home decor, gift and apparel industries,” said Maricich.