SMG, a leading venue management company with a portfolio of some 500 arenas, stadia, theatres, amphitheatres and convention centers across North America, Europe and Asia, has been acquired by Toronto-based private-equity firm Onex Corporation in partnership with SMG’s existing management team, Northlane Capital Partners, Onex announced today.
A potential purchase by Live Nation was speculated last month – a partnership that would grow Live Nation by some 200 accounts and make it the world’s biggest promoter and facility management firm, in addition to the world’s biggest ticketing provider. Combined, LN and SMG’s venue and ticketing holdings would have dwarfed all potential competitors, which would include AEG, Spectra, OVG Facilities and VenueWorks, and presumably make it all but impossible for promoters and talent managers to avoid working with Live Nation or Ticketmaster throughout most of the English-speaking world.
However, if Live Nation’s bid were accepted, it would have needed approval by regulatory agencies in several countries, similar to when the company purchased Ticketmaster a few years back, and many questioned whether such a monopolizing deal would have passed.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, although the company says the investment will come from Onex Partners IV, a $5.7 billion fund, and the transaction is expected to close in early 2018 pending regulatory approval.
“Onex values the deep relationships our general managers have cultivated within the municipalities we serve, and its ownership mentality and long-term focus make it an ideal partner for us,” says Wes Westley, CEO of SMG. “On behalf of the SMG management team, I look forward to working with Onex as we enter this next chapter of continued growth and success.”
“SMG is the global gold standard in venue management,” adds Amir Motamedi, managing director of Onex. “We’re excited to work with Wes, his management team and the general managers within each of SMG’s venues to continue to provide the same world class service their clients have come to expect.”