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VENUE MANAGER SMG ON THE BLOCK: WHO'S BIDDING?

Bids are expected to be submitted this month for the sports and entertainment management company SMG and Live Nation and the owners of WME/IMG are among the potential buyers. The price tag could land between $750m and $1b.

SportsBusiness Journal reported that investment bank Harris Williams & Co. is soliciting bids on SMG, which has 239 venues worldwide in its portfolio, among them Soldier Field in Chicago, the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., NRG Stadium in Houston, Long Beach Arena and the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Northlane Capital Partners, a billion-dollar private equity fund, has owned SMG since early this year.

Insiders say bids are expected from Silver Lake Partners, the majority owner of the talent and sports agency Endeavor, which until this month was WME/IMG, Formula 1 financers CVC Capital Partners and Live Nation. The Journal reported that private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Texas Pacific Group are showing interest. All bidders must file NDAs so no one’s talking.

SMG’s longtime president and CEO Wes Wesley founded the company in 1977 to mange the Louisiana Superdome. Based outside Philadelphia in West Conshohocken, Pa., the company manages convention centers, exhibition halls and trade centers, arenas, stadiums, performing arts centers, theaters, and specific-use venues such as equestrian centers. 

SMG was last sold a decade ago when American Capital bought it from Aramark and Hyatt for about $600m. Over the last three years, it has spun off multiple times in various funds, landing in Northlane’s portfolio early this year.

 

 

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