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With a retraction in the Standard apparently imminent, St James have told Olympia fair organisers Clarion that there is absolutely no truth to the December 12 report of a deal with Targetfollow, who own London’s Centre Point.

Naturally there are trade implications with any takeover of these landmark venues since Clarion Events, who are based at Earls Court, hold three famous fairs a year at Olympia, which is considered one of the capital’s prime venues for quality fairs.

Indeed, over the years it has become apparent that for the present there is no comparable site within easy reach of central London suitable to host such fairs.

But Dan Gorton, Portfolio Director of Clarion with overall responsibility for the fairs, told ATG: “It makes absolutely no difference to us. We have a contractual relationship with whoever may take over. It really does not matter to us at all.”

Clarion said the same in May 2004, when St James, a private property fund, bought the 42-acre exhibition complexes from Andrew Morris in a £245m deal. Morris bought the business from shipping company P&O for £183m in 1999.

But despite confirming that no deal has been done yet, Mr Gorton believes that a sale may not be that far off

“I am sure they intend to sell fairly soon,” he speculated to ATG.

By David Moss