Denver-based MJBiz, well known for its online B2B news and business content, has been acquired by Emerald X. Emerald is a subsidiary of Emerald Holding, a media and event company based in New York, and acquired MJBiz for a total of $120 million.
The acquisition includes MJBizCon, MJBizDaily, Hemp Industry Daily, MJBiz Magazine as well as The Emerald Conference, which MJBiz acquired back in 2020. According to Hervé Sedky, Emerald’s president and CEO, this acquisition will greatly benefit his company. “We have long admired MJBiz’s sterling reputation for being the most trusted event and content producer serving the business side of the cannabis and hemp industries and their respective participants. MJBiz’s leading event and content portfolio coupled with their 365-day engagement platform, which connects the entire cannabis supply chain, will diversify our collective product offerings, enhance our growth profile and enable us to deliver even greater value to our customers over the long term.”
MJBiz’s CEO Chris Walsh also shared that this move represents the cannabis industry’s growth. “This really highlights the rapidly growing interest in cannabis from all corners of the business world, the market’s vast potential and the success of not only MJBiz, but also of the entire industry,” Walsh said. “We’re seeing these types of deals across cannabis as pioneering companies such as ours level up to more effectively tap and foster the industry’s next wave of growth.”
MJBizCon’s most recent event was held in October 19-22, 2021, and attracted approximately 27,000 attendees and 1,200 exhibitors at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Nevada. The event boasts that it’s one of the largest and long-lasting cannabis business events, and will be celebrating its 11th year of operation in 2022 with the expectation that attendance will reach up to 30,000. Tentatively, the event date is set November 15-18, 2022. The Emerald Conference is slated to occur between February 27-March 1, 2022.
Emerald works on over 142 events and 16 media projects that cover a wide variety of markets, including design, equipment, retail, safety and security, and technology. The Outdoor Retailer Snow Show, International Pizza Expo, Modern Day Marine, Retail Innovation Conference & Expo, Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show, to name just a few events, are all hosted by Emerald.
According to MJBizDaily, the current team of about 40 people will continue working under its new company ownership, while Emerald employs over 600 people. CEO Chris Walsh, Senior Vice President of Events and Sales Jess Tyler and Senior Vice President of Content and Audience Development Pam Moore have been confirmed to continue working as part of MJBiz’s day-to-day activity.
Co-founders Cassandra Farmington and Anne Holland will also continue to consult. MJBiz Co-founder Cassandra Farmington is confident that MJBiz being absorbed into another will only strengthen both companies. “Our organization has experienced massive growth since its inception, initially as a how-to resource to help dispensary owners run their businesses better, into our position today as the leading commercial resource for the cannabis sector,” Farmington said. “Integrating with a larger organization provides the additional resources and channels to unlock the next phase of MJBiz’s growth and is the right next step in our evolution as a business. We chose Emerald because they clearly value the unique aspects of our brand and are committed to serving the industry’s expansion.”
Aside from the $120 million acquisition amount, but MJBiz notes that the earnout is based on future financial performance calculated as “an amount equal to the average MJBiz EBITDA over the past two years minus $13 million—multiplied by 9.3.” Emerald’s Chief Financial Officer projects that this earnout could amount to somewhere between $30 million to $50 million in early 2023.