SportBusiness International

Analysis and insight for the global sports business

Private equity firm acquires leading venue management group

Private equity firm acquires leading venue management group

By: SportBusiness International team

12 Dec 2017
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Canadian private equity firm Onex has agreed a deal to acquire leading sports venue operator SMG.

The transaction, terms of which were not disclosed, is expected to close in early 2018, subject to customary conditions and regulatory approvals. Toronto-headquartered Onex said it has acquired SMG in partnership with its existing management team.

SMG, which is headquartered in the US city of Philadelphia, manages 240 venues globally. Onex’s investment will be made by Onex Partners IV, the firm’s $5.7bn (€4.8bn) fund.

SMG's US venues include EverBank Field and NRG Stadium (pictured), home to NFL American football teams the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans, respectively. UK venues operated by SMG include Leeds’ First Direct Arena and Manchester Arena.

SMG offers a suite of services, allowing venue owners to outsource day-to-day operations such as facility staffing and training, food and beverages, event booking and management, event promotion, exhibitor services, financial management and maintenance services.

SMG chief executive Wes Westley said: “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.”

Amir Motamedi, a managing director with Onex, 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.”

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