The buyer, MaD Events, is run by Dan Leyland and Marisa Beckman, former employees of Clarion.
Leyland managed the AAFE shows, which run three times a year, from 2012-15, and Beckman has experience with operational delivery of the events. The pair are joined by the fair’s current sales manager Pip Dawson, who will retain her role.
Regular exhibitors were informed of the change by outgoing fair director Mary Clare Boyd in a statement last Friday when the change of ownership came into effect.
Leyland said he wanted to “reassure our clients that it is very much business as usual and that we are committed to developing a strong future”. He said that plans for the fair under MaD Events include growing exhibitor and visitor numbers.
“We are coming to the table with a fresh approach and a few ideas that we hope to implement upon successful consultation with exhibitors,” Leyland added.
The sale came about during the past two years as Clarion looked for ways to ensure the event’s future. Changes have included the addition of a new weekend-only section and a re-branding from the old moniker Antiques for Everyone.
“These fairs rightly have an enviable position in the market,” Boyd said. “It is our wish and aim for the strength of these fairs to continue for many years to come and by transferring ownership to MaD Events, we believe we have achieved these aims.”
Clarion also runs Art & Antiques Fair Olympia, which last week was announced to be consolidating onto only one floor at its west London venue.
In her statement, Boyd added that Clarion continues its “strong commitment to the two Olympia Fairs in June and November”.
The next staging of AAFE runs from July 18-21 at Birmingham’s NEC.