Media company UBM plc has today announced the £51m acquisition of Ecobuild owner International Business Events (IBE) Ltd and says it wants to double the size of the event over the next four years.

UBM also says it plans to expand Ecobuild internationally.

It will pay IBE an initial cash payment of £31m and a further performance-based cash consideration of up to £20m payable over the next 12 months.

The takeover marks a landmark moment in the history of the incredible rise of Ecobuild, which in the past couple of year overtook Interbuild to lay claim to being the UK’s leading construction products exhibition as well as the world’s largest sustainable building products exhibition.

UBM has acquired the business on behalf of its UBM Built Environment division.

It said Ecobuild was an “excellent fit” with its Built Environment division’s existing UK media portfolio which includes publications Property Week and Building.

These media platforms will support Ecobuild’s ongoing growth as well as provide expert voices and authoritative content for the event.

UBM’s global events infrastructure will support the expansion of Ecobuild to other countries, building on the event’s existing international audience.

The first Ecobuild international event will be in Shanghai in April 2012, running alongside UBM’s existing show Expobuild.

Ecobuild’s CEO David Wood will remain with the business until mid 2012.

“We expect to double the size of Ecobuild over the next four years and we see clear opportunities to develop Ecobuild events in new geographies, taking advantage of our worldwide events infrastructure and our existing events portfolio, particularly in emerging markets such as China, Brazil, India and UAE,” said David Levin, UBM’s CEO.

Ecobuild’s rapid expansion has been driven by the accelerating adoption of sustainable construction products and techniques, as well as the increasing focus on sustainability within the regulatory regimes for the UK and European construction industries.

Launched in 2004, the exhibition is held annually in March at London’s ExCel Centre. The number of professionals visiting the event has grown from 6,100 in 2006 to more than 55,000 in 2011, when the event occupied net floor space of 28,000m².

In 2011 Ecobuild generated revenues of approximately £9.4m.