Conventions & Awards

SXSW sells 50% to Billboard, Rolling Stone publisher Penske Media

The publisher of Rolling Stone, Billboard, Vibe, and Variety, Penske Media has bought a 50% stake in SXSW.

“a true lifeline”

The SXSW festival and conference were struggling after they were canceled in 2020 and forced online in 2021 due to the pandemic.

“It’s been an incredibly tough period for small businesses, SXSW included,” Roland Swenson, SXSW CEO & co-founder said in a statement. “When [Penske founder] Jay Penske came to us with interest in becoming a partner, it was a true lifeline for us. While SXSW’s core business will retain its focus on the March event in Austin, this strategic investment also brings the exploration of new capabilities in providing quality programming to our diverse community of highly engaged creative professionals.”

Jay Penske, chairman and CEO of Penske Media added: “We are grateful and proud to become enduring partners with SXSW, and collaborate with its exceptional team. Since 1987, SXSW has been the world’s premier festival centered at the convergence of tech, media, film, and music. Today SXSW continues to be one of the most recognized brands for empowering creative talent and bringing together the brightest creators of our time.”

“As part of this significant investment, we plan to build upon SXSW’s incredible foundation while extending the platform further digitally and assisting Roland and his incredible team to bring their vision to even greater heights.”

SXSW will return as an in person event in 2022.

MORE: SXSW Announces 2022 In-Person Dates

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