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ZMC acquires iconic comedy theater Second City

ZMC has acquired The Second City, the iconic, Chicago-based comedy and improvisation theater.

ZMC has acquired The Second City, the iconic, Chicago-based comedy and improvisation theater. No financial terms were disclosed. Houlihan Lokey served as financial advisor to The Second City while Mayer Brown LLP acted as legal advisor. And, Sidley Austin LLP acted as legal advisor to ZMC.


NEW YORK, Feb. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — ZMC said today that it has acquired The Second City, the world’s premier brand in improvisation and sketch-based comedy entertainment and education. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in Chicago in 1959, The Second City is an iconic brand that has become the most influential and prolific comedy empire in the world. The company has expanded beyond the theatrical stage in Chicago, establishing a strong and growing presence in North America through dozens of partnerships, among thousands of students, and with hundreds of Fortune 1000 clients.

“We are very excited to partner with management and the incredible talent at The Second City to grow the brand and build a diverse organization that elevates all voices,” said Jordan Turkewitz, Co-Chief Investment Officer and Managing Partner at ZMC. “Over its sixty-year history, The Second City has been home to some of the most beloved names in comedy, and we plan on building the next generation of comedy talent by investing in people and creativity.”

Steve Johnston, The Second City President, said: “We are thrilled to work with ZMC as we continue to transform the company into an equitable and thriving environment while delivering world-class comedy to our audiences. I want to thank the talent, staff, alumni and audiences of The Second City for supporting us on our journey.”

Houlihan Lokey acted as financial advisor and Mayer Brown LLP acted as legal advisor to The Second City. Sidley Austin LLP acted as legal advisor to ZMC.

About The Second City
Since opening its doors over 60 years ago, The Second City has grown to become the world’s premier comedy brand, focused on the mission of entertaining, inspiring, and transforming through courageous comedy. Renowned for its legendary theaters in Chicago, Toronto and Hollywood, alumni of The Second City’s stages, touring companies, theatrical production, and Emmy-winning iconic TV show SCTV include some of the biggest and most beloved names in entertainment, including Alan Arkin, Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Aidy Bryant, John Candy, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Keegan-Michael Key, Eugene Levy, Jane Lynch, Jack McBrayer, Bill Murray, Mike Myers, Catherine O’Hara, Amy Poehler, Gilda Radner, Harold Ramis, Chris Redd, Joan Rivers, Sam Richardson, Amber Ruffin, Amy Sedaris, Martin Short, Jason Sudeikis, and Fred Willard. The Second City brings its unique approach to interactive entertainment and education through a multitude of in-person and digital programming, reaching tens of thousands of students of improvisational-based arts annually, as well as hundreds of Fortune 1000 companies. The comedic empire continues to push new boundaries across a variety of platforms, allowing audiences worldwide to experience The Second City’s wholly unique approach to laughter.

About ZMC
ZMC is a leading private equity firm comprised of experienced investors and executives that invests in and manages a diverse group of media and communications enterprises. Founded in 2001, ZMC’s investment philosophy centers on operational value creation driven by targeted investment themes, deep sector expertise, and strong partnerships with industry and operating executives. ZMC approaches its investments in collaboration with management teams and has a successful track record of actively adding value to portfolio companies. ZMC is currently investing out of ZMC III, L.P., which closed on $775 million in commitments. See to learn more.