Business News Deals Live Business

Private equity firm buys venue operator SMG

By | Published on Tuesday 12 December 2017

Live Music

Toronto-based private equity outfit Onex has acquired US-based venue operator SMG, which was recently put up for sale by its current owners, another investment fund called Northlane Capital Partners.

Live giant Live Nation had been linked to a possible SMG bid. With SMG owning and/or managing a significant network of venues around the world – including arenas in Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and Belfast – that deal would have provided a big boost to the venues side of Live Nation’s business.

Venue management is the one area where AEG is bigger than Live Nation, with the latter a more dominant player in concert promotion, artist management and ticketing. Had it also got hold of SMG’s venue portfolio, that would have almost certainly led to much chatter about Live Nation becoming too damn dominant. Which would have been fun. One investment fund buying SMG off another investment fund? No fun at all.

So here’s a no fun quote from SMG CEO Wes Westley: “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. 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”.

Maintaining the no fun theme, Onex MD Amir Motamedi added: “SMG is the global gold standard in venue management. 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”.