SXSW stake acquired by Rolling Stone & Billboard publisher P-MRC
A 50% stake in SXSW is being acquired by P-MRC, the joint venture from Rolling Stone, Variety, and Deadline parent company Penske Media Corporation and MCR Entertainment (Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, and Vibe) which was created when the companies entered into a partnership last year, The Wall Street Journal reports. The event will continue to be managed and operated by its founders, but P-MRC will own the largest stake in the company.
"It’s been an incredibly tough period for small businesses, SXSW included," SXSW co-founder and chief executive Roland Swenson said in a statement. "When [Penske founder] Jay Penske came to us with interest in becoming a partner, it was a true lifeline for us. Both of our companies share a passion for producing high-quality content that helps shape modern culture, so this feels like a natural alliance. Now we are focused on the March 2022 event, and we’re honored to embark on a new chapter of SXSW with both his experience and the capabilities of P-MRC at our side."
Jay Penske said, "We are grateful and proud to become enduring partners with SXSW and collaborate with its exceptional team. Since 1987, SXSW has been the world’s premier festival centered at the convergence of tech, media, film, and music. Today SXSW continues to be one of the most recognized brands for empowering creative talent and bringing together the brightest creators of our time. As part of this significant investment, we plan to build upon SXSW’s incredible foundation while extending the platform further digitally and assisting Roland and his incredible team to bring their vision to even greater heights."
According to Rolling Stone, SXSW and P-MRC "plan to explore possible new events and business models" in the future.
SXSW was one of the first major festivals to be cancelled in 2020 because of COVID. At the time, they said their insurance didn't cover the cancellation, and they laid off a third of their employees. They held a virtual edition in 2021, and announced 2022 in-person dates.