Informa Markets strikes deal to acquire HIMSS conference while HIT organization will oversee content

Informa Markets has struck a deal with the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) to acquire one of the largest health IT conferences in the market.

Informa Markets, a division of the business-to-business publishing and events company Informa PLC, will take on management of the HIMSS Exhibition, while HIMSS will continue to oversee developing expert content and programming, the organizations announced Tuesday.

Last week, Informa announced it had exclusive rights to acquire HIMSS' trade show, the HIMSS Global Health Conference and Exhibition, according to the company's six-month financial report.

In an interview, Hal Wolf, president and CEO of HIMSS, confirmed that Informa had acquired the HIMSS Global Conference and Exhibition as an asset. The partnership between the two organizations, with Informa running the logistics and HIMSS managing the content and programming, will propel the growth and evolution of the conference, Wolf said.

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

"Both organizations expect to do well financially," Wolf noted. "We're looking forward to Informa making significant investment into the global conference, continue to grow it and use their strength internationally to make it even more global than ever before. It's our opportunity now to focus even more on the content, programming, thought leadership, the educational and professional development, which has always been such a critical landmark of HIMSS." 

Informa Markets operates conferences across a range of industries including fashion, engineering, health and wellness and construction, with a portfolio encompassing over 450 brands. According to its website, the company's healthcare events encompass 12 in-person exhibitions and 90 conferences around the world including Florida International Medical Expo, Expo Med, Medic West Africa, Medlab Middle East and the Healthcare Innovation Show in Brazil.

Informa, the largest owner and operator of business-to-business events, reported 2022 revenue of $2.8 billion (£2.4 billion). In its latest report, Informa said it brought in £1.5 billion in revenue, up 53% year over year.

The 2024 HIMSS Global Health Conference and Exhibition is slated for March 11-15 in Orlando, where Informa’s South Florida Ventures team has recently added Art Miami, the Miami International Boat Show and Premiere Beauty to its rapidly growing luxury lifestyle portfolio in the region.

“We are thrilled to expand our work connecting the healthcare community with the addition of the HIMSS Global Health Conference and Exhibition,” said Ken McAvoy, president, South Florida Ventures at Informa Markets in a statement. “Drawing on our extensive experience in organizing some of the largest and most successful events in the U.S., combined with HIMSS’ unparalleled expertise in the digital health space, we are excited to collaborate and leverage our resources to deliver even greater benefits and value to the HIMSS community and its members.”

The HIMSS Global Health Conference and Exhibition is one of the largest healthcare events in North America and draws around 40,000 health professionals, technology leaders, providers and governmental organizations.

"They're a huge organization. They have a lot of resources, both in marketing and operational capabilities. They know healthcare very well," Wolf said. "We've been in this process, looking around for the right partner for about a year. After this year's terrific and really strong global conference, we had a number of people looking at us. It was a very strong rebound with a 34% increase in attendance year over year. It was really an opportunity for us to focus on what we want to focus on in terms of membership value, producing content and programming for the global conference, and then take the logistics component of it and hand it over to an amazing organization that does that every single day."

About 30 HIMSS conference staff members will move over to Informa as part of the deal, Wolf said.

HIMSS Media operates a number of healthcare-focused publications including Healthcare IT News, MobiHealthNews and Healthcare Finance while Informa also owns healthcare media brands. Last year, the London-based firm acquired Industry Dive, a Washington, D.C.-based business media company, for a reported enterprise value of $525 million. Industry Dive owns HealthcareDive, BioPharmaDive and MedTechDive.

Wolf said the HIMSS Media brands were not a part of the acquisition deal and will remain separate.

Informa Markets brings scale, expertise and resources as a leading exhibitions organizer, executives said. The deal will enable HIMSS to double down on its thought leadership and expertise in healthcare IT.

"Participants will continue to benefit from HIMSS’ excellence in curating content and programming that showcases the latest advancements and innovations in health information and technology, while drawing on Informa Markets’ unrivaled expertise in delivering world-class event experiences," HIMSS said in a press release.

"With a strong presence in the healthcare and medtech space through brands such as FIME, Arab Health and IME, Informa Markets is an ideal partner to elevate the HIMSS Exhibition to new heights. Under Informa Markets’ leadership, the 2024 version of the HIMSS Conference and Exhibition will provide fresh opportunities and enhance the customer experience for HIMSS members, featuring improved digital features, enhanced registration processes, marketing tools and cutting-edge product discover applications," the organization said.

"With the remarkable growth that the Global Conference has reached, it’s the right time to partner with North America’s leading exhibitions organizer, Informa Markets, who shares our vision to make the HIMSS Global Health Conference and Exhibition the best it can be for the entire ecosystem," Wolf said.

Founded in October 1961 as the Hospital Management Systems Society, or HMSS, the Society held its first conference in 1962 in conjunction with the American Hospital Association Advanced Institute on Methods Improvement.  The conference was held in Baltimore, Maryland with a total of 54 members on the HMSS roster. In 1986, HMSS changed its name to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, or HIMSS, to reflect its inclusion of information systems and telecommunications professionals among its members.

So, what should HIMSS 2024 attendees expect at next year's conference? Wolf said it was too early to get into details about Informa's impact on the conference.

"There will be a lot here that's going to be extremely familiar. And we also hope that there will be a lot here that will be more innovative and an expanded opportunity," he said. "We now have an extra seat at the table with Informa. They the operate very large health entities overseas and some here in the U.S. The HIMSS Global Conference will definitely be the crown jewel of their portfolio on the healthcare side."