Royal Farms Arena operator SMG Holdings to be acquired

SMG Holdings Inc., which operates the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore and many other venues, will be acquired by Canadian private equity fund Onex Corp.

The deal, which Onex announced this week, is expected to close early next year. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“SMG is the global gold standard in venue management,” Amir Motamedi, a managing director with Onex, said in a statement. “We’re excited to work with Wes [Westley, SMG’s CEO,], his management team and the general managers within each of SMG’s venues to continue to provide the same world-class service their clients have come to expect.”

Philadelphia-area SMG manages some 200 convention centers, stadiums, arenas, theaters and performing arts centers.

SMG has run the city-owned Royal Farms Arena since 1999.

Colin Tarbert, Baltimore’s deputy chief for strategic alliances, said he does not expect SMG’s acquisition to affect operations at the arena.

“It’s business as usual,” he said. “We have a great working relationship with SMG, so we don’t expect any changes on the day-to-day operations.”

Along with Live Nation Entertainment, SMG also jointly operates the Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore.

Live Nation, a California-based promoting and ticketing company, had reportedly been in talks to acquire SMG. Live Nation declined to comment Wednesday.

Onex is acquiring SMG through its $5.7 billion Onex Partners IV fund.

Through its private equity funds, Onex focuses on acquisitions of companies it believes have strong management teams.

“Onex values the deep relationships our general managers have cultivated within the municipalities we serve, and its ownership mentality and long-term focus make it an ideal partner for us,” Westley said in a statement. “On behalf of the SMG management team, I look forward to working with Onex as we enter this next chapter of continued growth and success.”

Onex has $30 billion in assets under management.

The firm has offices in Toronto, New York, New Jersey and London.

sarah.gantz@baltsun.com

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