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Breaking: American Private Equity Firm Buys Controlling Interest in Hungary’s Biggest Summer Festivals

 In a statement to Hungarian wire service MTI today, Szigeti Cultural Management Office Ltd. announced that American private equity firm Providence Equity Partners has become majority owner of the company.

Sziget Ltd. owns and operates some of Hungary’s biggest festivals, which have in recent years become some of the most popular music festivals in Europe. In addition to the colossal, eponymous Sziget Festival, the company also operates the Telekom VOLT Festival, held each year in the Western Hungarian city of Sopron; Balaton Sound; the Gourmet food festival; and Gyerek Sziget (Children’s Sziget).

In their statement, Sziget Ltd. said that the move would help push Sziget’s brand onto the world stage.

And in an attempt to allay fears about possible management changes and other repercussions of the purchase, the company emphasized that, although Providence may have a controlling interest, “the current owners still have a significant stake, and retain management rights; in other words, the current team will continue to run the festivals in our portfolio.”

Sziget Festival’s founder, Károly Gerendai, emphasized the opportunities presented by the deal, saying that

“In the past years, we’ve had many investment offers, but Providence’s offer was the best, because it opens up new possibilities to us. With the help of our new partner we can take a huge step forward and start a number of ambitious projects that we have been trying to bring to life for a while now. Providence’s financial resources and international background, combined with our team’s technical expertise brings us into an even stronger position, and opens new opportunities for growth, that weren’t possible before.”

Sziget Ltd.’s operations will continue to be overseen by Gerendai and Sziget’s other owners: Gábor Takács will continue as head of international projects, as will Norbert Lobenwein and Zoltán Fülöp as managers of VOLT Festival Balaton Sound, and children’s programming for the company’s various festivals. Joining the current management team will be James Barton, founder of the Creamfields festival and former electronic music manager of American events company LiveNation, as well as Paul Bedford former financial director of Cream Group.

Providence Equity Partners handles $50 billion in assets under management. According to the firm’s website, “Since the firm’s inception in 1989, Providence has invested in over 150 companies and become the leading equity investment firm focused on the media, communications, education and information industries.”

Via MTI, index.hu, and provequity.com

Images via revolart.it