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The Clarion team was led by managing director Simon Kimble and backed by private equity group HG Capital.

The buy-out means Clarion will continue to expand in the UK while maintaining a special relationship with EC&O. Under the terms of the deal, EC&O and the organisers have made long-term commitments to work together to develop existing shows and examine new opportunities. Clarion will keep their headquarters in the Earls Court Exhibition Centre.

Anthony Lyons, chief executive of EC&O, said: “We have had numerous approaches from trade buyers for some or all of Clarion’s portfolio but were always convinced that the best outcome for both EC&O and Clarion was this opportunity Simon Kimble now has to develop the company independently.”

Setting out his strategy for Clarion’s future, Mr Kimble said he would continue to invest in and grow the current show portfolio, look at acquisitions in the UK and seek venue partners in Europe.

Dan Gorton, director of the Olympia antiques fairs and part of the buy-out team, told the Antiques Trade Gazette: “While this is great news for the Fine Art and Antiques team, the buy-out will make very little difference to the day-to-day running of the Olympia fairs. They are a crucial part of the Clarion portfolio and we are absolutely committed to keeping them as the leading fairs of their kind in the UK. We look forward to working even more closely with the trade in general to develop the fairs for the future.”

The buy-out marks a five-year turnaround of the former P&O Events by EC&O, with Clarion becoming one of the country’s top three exhibition organisers whose events have grown from 18 to 33.