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Populous receives Providence Equity Partners investment

Global sports and entertainment venue architecture and design firm Populous has received a minority investment from private equity investment firm Providence Equity Partners.

Providence is a 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 transaction were not disclosed.

According to a press release from the pair, Populous and Providence anticipate the investment will support the firm’s continued growth and allow the company to pursue opportunities to expand its service offerings and geographic presence for the benefit of clients, partners and its workforce around the globe. Populous will continue to be led by one of its Founders and Global Chair, Earl Santee, and its existing leadership, as the investment will help Populous to broaden its reach and capture both organic and inorganic growth opportunities globally.

Populous specializes in designing sports facilities, arenas, convention centers, and airports, ranging from iconic sporting venues like Yankee Stadium, Wembley Stadium and Target Field, to consulting on notable events like Field of Dreams, London MLB and every Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games since 1996.

“We have experienced ongoing success in our core business, as well as growth through geographic expansion and extension of the services that we offer our clients,” said Earl Santee, Populous Global Chair, via press release. “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 enable us to capitalize on additional growth opportunities while retaining the core values and culture that are integral to Populous.”

“Over the last 40 years, Populous has established an exceptional reputation for designing vibrant entertainment destinations that create unforgettable experiences for fans, spectators and communities worldwide,” said Scott Marimow, a Managing Director at Providence, via press release. “We have been impressed by the differentiated business and culture that Earl and his team have built, as well as its world-class portfolio of 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.” 

“Our investment in Populous, in our view, fits squarely with Providence’s focus on sports, entertainment and live events businesses, and we are excited to leverage our industry expertise to support the company through its next phase of growth,” added Michael Dominguez, Chief Investment Officer and Senior Managing Director at Providence, via press release.   

Fortitude Advisors served as lead investment banker, with Arma Partners serving as co-advisor. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP served as legal advisor, and PwC provided human resource and tax advisory services for Populous. Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as Providence’s legal advisor. 

Yankee Stadium photo courtesy of Populous.