Penske Media, MRC Acquire 50% Stake In South by Southwest Event Owner SXSW

P-MRC Holdings, a joint venture between Penske Media and MRC, has acquired what reports say is a 50% stake in South by Southwest event operator SXSW, providing “a true lifeline for us,” says Roland Swenson, CEO-co-founder of SXSW. 

The deal follows what has been “an incredibly tough period for small businesses, SXSW included,” Swenson says.

Penske Media operates several entertainment and music publications, including Variety, Rolling Stone, Billboard, Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter, VIBE, TVLine and Music Business Worldwide.

MRC is a global entertainment company that operates the independent TV studio MRC Television.

The new partners plan to “build upon SXSW’s incredible foundation while extending the platform further digitally,” states Jay Penske, chairman-CEO of Penske Media.



SXSW has been “the world's premier festival centered at the convergence of tech, media, film, and music” since 1987, Penske claims, adding the new investment is “significant.”

According to Penske, SXSW continues to be “one of the most recognized brands for empowering creative talent and bringing together the brightest creators of our time.”

The SXSW team is now focused on the next South by Southwest event, slated for March 11-20, 2022 in Austin, Texas. 

The festival moved online this year and featured conference sessions, music showcases, film screenings, an XR event, exhibitions, and networking and professional development opportunities.  

The SXSW management team, including Swenson, will remain in place.  


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