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South by Southwest has struck a deal with P-MRC, a joint venture between Penske Media Corporation and MRC that includes publishing brands such as The Hollywood Reporter, that will make P-MRC a long-term partner and stakeholder in the festival, the companies announced in a joint release Sunday night.
P-MRC — whose holdings also include Billboard, Rolling Stone, Variety and Vibe — will bring “media expertise and new avenues for discovery” to the Austin, Texas-based event. The deal will also involve looking at an expansion of SXSW with new events and business models.
P-MRC will reportedly take a 50% stake in the business. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report the news.
“It has been an incredibly tough period for small businesses, SXSW included,” said CEO and co-founder Roland Swenson. “When Jay Penske approached us with an 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.”
Added Jay Penske, chairman and CEO of Penske Media: “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.”
The event was created in 1987. Its founders will continue to run the festival. The next edition is scheduled for March 11-20.
The news comes about a year after festival organizers took a hit after being forced to cancel the 2020 edition due to the pandemic. The festival had been scheduled to take place in March, the same month that the country went into lockdown. This year, a shorter version of festival was held online.