It’s now a “landmark partnership”. From a non-announcement announcement by Informa in its H1 financials to today (seven days), we have gone from Informa’s “exclusivity to acquire the HIMSS Global Health Exhibition/Conference” to a “partnership” as follows: Informa will manage the HIMSS Exhibition, while HIMSS will oversee the content and programming. This will expand the combined conference and exhibition. (Informa taking over conference logistics aren’t specified, but assumed from later on in the release.)
No transaction costs are disclosed. The word ‘acquire’ is not used once.
It may be the best possible deal for both. The press release (on Yahoo Finance) and identically in the news section on HIMSS.org content is masterful in saying very little in a lot of words. Here’s this Editor’s view of the deal:
- It avoids the biggest problem–without HIMSS content, the conference would lack a strong reason why to go and spend money on participation and exhibiting. (This Editor guessed right on that.) Minus HIMSS, it would be easy for exhibitors and participants to walk away from it or say ‘maybe next year’. A lot of what has driven HIMSS is FOMO.
- It would lose 50+ years of Society legitimacy, continuity, and goodwill as an unaffiliated conference
- This gives HIMSS, as a society, an annual conference as part of member value (Guessed right on this too)
- Informa would be hard-pressed to organize the conference content by year’s end, as there’s basically less than eight months to March
- It absolves the HIMSS organization of being responsible for venue negotiations, expo design, logistics, travel arrangements, and all the messy expenses such as Freeman. Their vulnerability showed in the last-minute cancellation in 2020. It’s now in professional hands.
- It may generate some needed cash for HIMSS in this FY (not disclosed)
HIMSS24 will be taking place in March in Orlando as originally planned, managed by Informa’s South Florida Ventures unit. Informa promises “improved digital features, enhanced registration processes, marketing tools, and cutting-edge product discover applications”. One would also hope improved travel arrangements.
There is no information in the release about Informa involvement in the 18-21 September APAC conference (too soon?) nor mention of any future international conferences, though Informa is certainly capable of staging and managing them.
Open issue–HIMSS Media is not mentioned in the release. Media tie-ins and merchandising are a substantial source of revenue for that division. But the lack of mention is not a ‘no’ and if HIMSS is generating the conference content, it’s likely that HIMSS Media will do the merchandising.
Surprisingly, the press ‘break’ is not yet up on HIMSS Media (Healthcare IT News, Mobihealthnews, Healthcare Finance News). Update–an 18 minute video hosted by editor Mike Miliard is up on Healthcare IT News 3 August.
- The name will not be changed.
- HIMSS has been considering bringing in an outside organization to manage the conference for some time and had been speaking with Informa over the past year.
- Mr. Wolf of HIMSS stated that their conference organizing people will be moving over to Informa.
- Mr. McAvoy of Informa touted the tools that HIMSS will now be able to access–enhanced tools that Informa has developed and amortized over multiple conferences.
- More to come
A new day for HIMSS in a competitive conference market. Except the link to the conference page at the end of the release, https://www.himss.org/global-conference.–does not open the conference page but goes to a ‘page not found’. Oops! Hint: it’s misconfigured to include the period in the URL.