Penske Media’s P-MRC Snaps Up Major Stake in South by Southwest

FN parent company Penske Media’s P-MRC Holdings has made a major investment in South By Southwest (SXSW), which has been a force in Austin, Texas for decades.

The deal makes P-MRC as a long-term partner and SXSW shareholder, and it will provide a valuable platform for PMC brands. P-MRC is a joint venture between PMC and MRC, and its properties include Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Rolling Stone, Variety, and Vibe.

SXSW and P-MRC are planning a live event in Austin for March 2022 as the festival business gets back on track. SXSW last hosted a physical edition in 2019 — but the company has grappled with significant challenges during the pandemic.

“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.”

PMC chairman and CEO Jay Penske and Swenson, who co-founded SXSW in 1987 with Nick Barbaro, Louis Black, and Louis Jay Meyers, sealed the deal.

“We are grateful and proud to become enduring partners with SXSW, and collaborate with its exceptional team,” said Penske. “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.”

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