After Cashing Out Of Seesmic, Loic LeMeur Sells Majority Stake In LeWeb Conference Biz To ReedMidem

Here's a crash-bang follow up to last week's LeWeb tech conference in Paris. Today, the trade event giant Reed Exhibitions announced that it has bought a majority stake in the franchise from Loic and Geraldine LeMeur, who founded the event in 2004 in Paris and have grown it to be one of the bigger tech conferences in Europe. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, and in an interview with me, Loic did not disclose them, either. The conference will join Reed's other tech/media confabs under the Reed MIDEM brand, which include MIPTV, MIPDOC, MIPCOM, and MIPJUNIOR for the TV and digital content and MIDEM for the music industry. "LeWeb fits very well with Reed MIDEM," said Reed MIDEM CEO Paul Zilk in a statement. "We share the same ambition for developing premium international events where participants network and build relationships, do business, launch new products and discover the latest innovations." This year's Paris conference attracted 3,500 people from 75 countries, LeMeur noted the other day. It featured speakers like Kevin Systrom from Instagram and Phil Libin from Evernote, as well as a startup competition. Loic would not comment on the profitability of the conference. As part of the deal, Loic and his wife Geraldine will continue to remain involved in LeWeb, Geraldine as the main organiser and Loic as the main programmer and master of ceremonies. The pair are also keeping a "significant minority stake" in the business. "We remain partners and shareholders and will keep running it as we have done," he said. The main reason for the sale, he said, was to put more investment into LeWeb. "We had become really big and wanted to partner with a group to help us keep growing," he said. But what that growth will entail is not yet known. There may be more expansion in Europe, or to new geographies like the U.S. Those conversations are only beginning now, LeMeur said. LeWeb made its first big move outside of Paris earlier this year with an event in London. The plan is definitely to continue both this and the Paris show while considering what else to do next, he says. Although he says LeWeb has "never been full time", Loic is also not saying whether, now that his social media startup Seesmic is also wrapped up in HootSuite, he will be using some of the proceeds from the LeWeb sale to start something new. "I have no short term plan to announce anything else," he said. "I will launch something else one day but not right  now."
Ingrid Lunden

Ingrid Lunden is a Writer at Gigabuzz, focused on covering early-stage startups, especially those with a technology focus and great perks.

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