Penske takes majority stake in South by Southwest competition

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Jay Penske has added one other asset to his rising media empire: the South by Southwest competition.

A three way partnership between Penske Media and MRC — which owns Billboard, the Hollywood Reporter, Rolling Stone, Selection and Vibe — acquired a 50% stake within the expertise and Hollywood competition, the corporate mentioned Monday. Monetary phrases weren’t disclosed.

The Wall Road Journal first reported the sale.

The funding will broaden Austin-based SXSW’s potential for brand new enterprise traces.

The deal comes after organizers and filmmakers had been left scrambling final yr as they had been compelled to cancel the occasion only a week earlier than opening because of the pandemic. Southby, because it has turn out to be recognized, has turn out to be a key cease on the competition circuit for Hollywood and is usually the place many massive summer time movies are premiered.

“It has been an extremely powerful interval for small companies, SXSW included,” Chief Govt Roland Swenson, the competition’s co-founder, mentioned in an announcement. “When Jay Penske approached us with an curiosity in changing into a companion, it was a real lifeline for us.”

This yr, the competition went digital in March, with 75 options, down from greater than 130 the earlier yr. Underneath the phrases of the brand new deal, SXSW’s administration crew and core enterprise will stay unchanged in preserving its concentrate on the March 2022 occasion, the businesses mentioned.

The South by Southwest program consists of music, expertise and a convention. In 2019, it was attended by greater than 417,000 individuals in Austin, Texas, together with 73,000 for the movie competition.

“Since 1987, SXSW has been the world’s premier competition centered on the convergence of tech, media, movie, and music,” Penske mentioned in an announcement. “As a part of this important funding, we plan to construct upon SXSW’s unimaginable basis whereas extending the platform additional digitally and helping Roland and his unimaginable crew to deliver their imaginative and prescient to even larger heights.”

Final fall, Penske Media Corp. joined forces with MRC — producer of movie and TV together with the Netflix drama “Ozark”— to deliver collectively leisure magazines together with Selection and the Hollywood Reporter, in addition to to create a brand new partnership for movie and tv content material. The 2 L.A.-based firms have joined forces as many publications face a slowdown in promoting spending within the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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