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SXSW sells a 50% stake to owners of Rolling Stone to keep the festival alive

Penske Media Corp., publishers of magazines such as Rolling Stone, Billboard and Variety, has agreed to buy a 50% stake in South by Southwest, famous technology festival, music and cinema, people familiar. with this said problem.

The Texas Festival, one of the largest and most popular in America, was held Serious financial hit last March after being canceled at the last minute by Austin city officials because of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Organizers said at the time their insurance policies did not include pandemic cancellations. They believe the cancellation will cost them millions of dollars, questioning the festival’s future, also known as SXSW or simply “Southby”. Last summer, SXSW laid off a third of its 175 year-round employees.

This year, the organizers only hosted a minified virtual event, but said they plan to bring the live event back to 2022.

Penske will make a strategic investment in a highly organized company, SXSW LLC, in exchange for a 50% stake in the business, the people said. The event is owned by the festival’s founders in 1987. They will continue to manage and run the festival, although Penske will own the largest stake, these people said.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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