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Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

Gartner nixes conferences through August, takes $158 million Q2 revenue hit

Gartner is scrapping its conferences through August due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is hoping conferences in the fall will continue.

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Gartner said that it has cancelled or postponed all conferences scheduled for April through August due to COVID-19 and will lose $158 million in second quarter revenue.

The company, best known for its research and conferences aimed at technology and business decision makers, joins a host of firms canceling events due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Many of those conferences were from vendors. Gartner's core business is research but consulting and events are key drivers of revenue.

In a statement, Gartner said the financial hit from not operating conferences through August 2020 would be about $158 million in revenue and $97 million in adjusted EBITDA. For the third quarter, the conference business will take a revenue hit of $22 million with $12 million in adjusted EBITDA. Gartner's biggest event is its flagship Symposium/ITxpo, which is usually held in October.

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In 2019, Gartner's 72 conferences generated revenue of $476.9 million, up 16% from 2018. Gartner delivered 2019 revenue of $4.24 billion.

To offset lost revenue, Gartner said it is reducing costs with several programs that could cut expenses by 2020 if kept in place through the end of the year. Gartner is reducing travel, new hiring and capital expenditures.

Gartner noted that conferences beyond August are expected to proceed as planned, but the company will continue to monitor COVID-19's impact with the "highest priority being the health and safety of all those involved." 

According to the company, projecting the business going forward s difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic.