P-MRC, the joint venture of Rolling Stone’s publisher Penske Media Corporation and MRC, announced that it has invested in South by Southwest.
The deal will make P-MRC a long-term partner with SXSW, as well as a shareholder, with The Wall Street Journal reporting P-MRC acquired a 50 percent stake in the festival. The partnership comes after a tumultuous two years for the Austin-based music, tech, and film event, which was forced to cancel in 2020 due to the pandemic, and was scaled back for a largely virtual event this year.
“It has been an incredibly tough period for small businesses, SXSW included,” SXSW’s CEO and co-founder Roland Swenson said in a statement. “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.”
Penske Media chairman and CEO, Jay Penske, added: “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.”
There are no plans to change SXSW’s management team or core business as the focus turns to the 2022 festival, which is expected to take place in person. As part of their new partnership, P-MRC and SXSW plan to explore possible new events and business models.