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Hungarian festival company Sziget sells 70 pct stake to Providence Equity: Reuters

U.S.-based private equity firm Providence Equity Partners has bought a majority stake in Hungarian festival company Sziget, the companies said in a joint statement on Friday, aiming to expand the events internationally.

Sziget draws about 500,000 people every year to its flagship event in Budapest and hundreds of thousands more to half a dozen other festivals around Hungary. Now in its 25th season, it has received several “best festival” titles from the European Festival Awards.

The website of the local edition of Forbes Magazine said Rhode Island’s Providence – which has total assets of about $47 billion under management – bought a 70 percent stake in Sziget.

One source with knowledge of the matter verified the 70 percent figure to Reuters.

The statement did not disclose a purchase price nor did it detail any further commitment, financial or otherwise.

The new investors will help “further the development of the Sziget festivals and support Sziget’s ambition to take its festival brands global”, the statement said.

“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,” said Sziget founder and owner Karoly Gerendai, whose team will retain a 30 percent stake in the company.

The current management will retain management rights and operational control of the festivals of the Sziget brand.

The team will be supported by several international festival promoters such as James Barton, former President of Electronic Music for Live Nation and founder of Creamfields Festival.

Sziget had total revenue of about 10 billion forints ($34.6 million) in 2015, the last year for which data is available, and Gerendai told the daily Vilaggazdasag last year that he expected 2016 revenues to be 15 to 20 percent higher.