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James Barton, former Live Nation exec and Creamfields Festival founder, and Paul Bedford, former financial director of Cream Group, join the firm
By Rhian Jones on 16 Jan 2017
Sziget Festival is to roll out globally following the sale of a 70% stake in Sziget Cultural Management to Providence Equity Partners. The global asset management firm plans to launch between eight and 10 new festivals over the next few years.
James Barton, former president of Electronic Music for Live Nation and Creamfields Festival founder, and Paul Bedford, former financial director of Cream Group, have joined the firm to lead international expansion of the Hungarian festival brand.
Sziget’s current management retain a 30% equity stake in the company and will continue to lead management and operations of all festivals in the portfolio. Alongside Barton, Bedford and Sziget’s founder Karoly Gerendai, the team includes CEO Tamás Kádár, international operations head Gábor Takács, and Zoltán Fülöp and Norbert Lobenwein who helm Telekom VOLT Festival and Balaton Sound.
Kádár tells IQ the firm is looking to both acquire and launch new festivals. Events will range from a daily capacity of 35k – 95k, he says, with new festivals taking on the Sziget brand and acquisitions joining its portfolio. As well as the flagship Budapest event, that portfolio includes Balaton Sound, Telekom VOLT Festival, Gourmet Festival and Gyerek Sziget (Children’s Sziget).
Gerendai says: “Sziget is excited to partner with Providence as we enter our next phase of growth and development. We received a series of inquiries from both financial and trade investors in the last couple of years, but we were attracted to Providence’s proposal because it opens new dimensions for us.
“With the help of our new partners we will be able to make a giant leap forward and embark on the ambitious projects that have been in our pipeline for some time.”
“With the help of our new partners we will be able to make a giant leap forward and embark on the ambitious projects that have been in our pipeline for some time. Providence’s network and financial resources will complement our existing management team’s expertise and will put us in an even stronger position to unlock significant new growth opportunities that otherwise would not have been available to us.
“We needed a financial partner to execute on several ambitious projects that we have in our pipeline. We are excited and looking forward to building the company utilising Providence’s sector experience and financial resources.”
“The Sziget team has done an incredible job in creating some of the world’s most exciting festivals and we look forward to partnering with Karoly and team in the company’s next phase of growth to accelerate Sziget’s domestic and international growth plans.”
Barton added: “The Sziget team has done an incredible job in creating some of the world’s most exciting festivals and we look forward to partnering with Karoly and team in the company’s next phase of growth to accelerate Sziget’s domestic and international growth plans.”
Sziget was honoured twice at the European Festival Awards at Eurosonic last week, taking home the Artist’s Favourite Festival award while late Sziget booker Dan Panaitescu, who passed away after a car accident last year, was posthumously presented with the lifetime achievement accolade.
Providence is a global asset management firm with $47 billion in assets under management across complementary private equity and credit businesses. Since the firm’s inception in 1989, Providence has invested in more than 150 companies in the media, communications, education and information industries. Providence is headquartered in Providence, RI and also has offices in New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Delhi.
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