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Venue operator SMG sold to private equity firm Onex

York Barbican is one of SMG's 240 venues around the world
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SMG, which operates 240 venues globally, has been sold to a Canadian private equity firm.

Founded 40 years ago, SMG manages performing arts spaces, convention centres, stadiums and arenas around the world.

SMG’s UK portfolio includes the York Barbican, the Playhouse Whitley Bay and the Plowright Theatre in Scunthorpe.

Other venues in the company’s portfolio include the First Direct Arena in Leeds and Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, which have hosted touring musicals and circus shows.

SMG, headquartered in Philadelphia, USA, has been bought by private equity investment firm Onex Corporation.

Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed, although Onex said the investment would come from Onex Partners IV, a $5.7 billion fund, and the transaction is expected to close in early 2018 pending regulatory approval.

Amir Motamedi, a managing director at Onex, said: “SMG is the global gold standard in venue management. We’re excited to work with Wes [Westley, SMG chief executive], 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.”

Westley added: “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.”

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