Convene Acquires UK Events Space Provider Following NYC Layoffs

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Convene is convening with a UK-based meeting provider after laying off dozens of New York City workers in late December.

The flex office firm announced Wednesday that it had acquired rival Etc Venues, growing Convene’s number of locations by 16 internationally, boosting Convene’s portfolio to 38 outposts.

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Convene did not disclose the acquisition price but said financing for it came from investors such as Hudson’s Bay Company, Ares Management (ARES), RXR, Revolution Capital and Gencom.

“The London and New York City markets continue to rebound at a tremendous pace post-COVID with demand for outsourced premium meeting and event solutions accelerating from clients and landlords alike,” Ryan Simonetti, CEO of Convene, said in a statement. “The acquisition of an organization with such an unwavering commitment to delivering high-quality meeting and event experiences allows Convene to expand our ability to serve our clients in more places and exciting new ways.”

The acquisition of Etc Venues came a month after Convene laid off 54 workers in NYC, which it attributed to expanding too fast once COVID-19 restrictions eased up, as Commercial Observer previously reported. Convene declined to comment on the layoffs, and it’s unclear if it would lay off any Etc Venues staffers.

Under the leadership of Alastair Stewart and Nick Hoare, Etc Venues offers companies space for events, training and conferences and has a 450,000-square-foot portfolio across 13 locations throughout the UK. Etc Venues has a little more history than its new owner, being founded in 1992 while Convene wasn’t founded until 2009.

“Now that we’ve reached this pivotal moment, the leadership teams are united in their integration planning to ensure the most seamless transition possible for our clients, employees, and partners,” Convene said in a statement, indicating that Stewart and Hoare would retain their status in the organization.

Etc Venues made its New York City debut in 2019 with a 45,000-square-foot outpost at 360 Madison Avenue and signed a lease for its third spot last year at 810 Seventh Avenue.

Convene also merged in 2022 with SaksWorks, a membership club and sister company to SaksFifth Avenue — owned by Hudson’s Bay Company — which gives its members flexible space inside Saks’ retail outposts.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.