Populous Holdings, Inc. (“Populous”) today announced a strategic minority investment from Providence Equity Partners (“Providence”), a leading private equity firm specializing in growth-oriented investments in media, communications, education and technology companies. The investment is subject to customary regulatory approvals and financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Populous and Providence expect the investment to support Populous’ continued growth and allow the company to pursue opportunities to expand its service offerings and geographic presence to benefit customers, partners and workforces around the world. Populous will continue to be led by one of its founders and global chairman, Earl Santee, and by existing management.
Populous specializes in the design of sports facilities, arenas, convention centers and airports, as well as the planning and design of large-scale events. Started as HOK Sports Facilities Group in 1983, the company changed its name to Populous in 2009. With an extensive portfolio of more than 3,000 projects, including Yankee Stadium in New York, Wembley Stadium in London, Stadium Australia and all Summer Olympic and Paralympic games since 1996. Populous is a best-in-class designer for the next generation of events and venues.
Earl Santee, Populous Global Chair, commented:
“We have continued success in our core business as well as growth through geographic expansion and expanding the services we offer to our customers.” As our industry continues to evolve, we believe this partnership will enable greater integration and expansion of our global business. Providence has a strong track record of supporting the success of businesses that deliver world-class events and experiences, and we believe their expertise will further accelerate our momentum and allow us to take advantage of additional growth opportunities while maintaining our core values and culture that are integral to Populous.
Scott Marimov, managing director at Providence, said:
“Over the past 40 years, Populous has built an outstanding reputation for designing vibrant entertainment destinations that create unforgettable experiences for fans, spectators and communities around the world. We have been impressed by the differentiated business and culture that Earle and his team have built, as well as the portfolio of world-class projects for some of the most iconic names in sports and entertainment. We believe Populous is well-positioned for continued, sustainable growth and will benefit from consumer demand for live entertainment and increased infrastructure investment by venue owners seeking to create new and innovative environments and experiences.”
Michael Dominguez, Chief Investment Officer and Senior Managing Director at Providence, added:
“Our investment in Populous, in our view, fits perfectly with Providence’s focus on the sports, entertainment and live events business, and we are excited to use our industry expertise to support the company in its next phase of growth.”
Populous has established itself as a renowned global architecture and design firm and continues to strive for excellence. With Populous’ expertise and Providence’s strategic insight, the company will look to expand its reach and capture both organic and inorganic growth opportunities globally.
Fortitude Advisors is serving as lead investment banker to Populous, with Arma Partners serving as co-advisor. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP served as legal counsel and PwC provided human resources and tax advisory services to Populous. Kirkland & Ellis LLP is serving as legal counsel to Providence.