Second City Is Sold to Private Equity Group

Second City Is Sold to Private Equity Group

The Second City, the storied comedy theater that has helped define American humor for more than half a century, was sold to a private equity group on Thursday, the company said in a statement. The group, ZMC, run by Strauss Zelnik, invests in media entities; Zelnik is also the chief executive of Take-Two Interactive Software, the group of video games behind Grand Theft Auto.

This is the first time a second city, located in Chicago and outposts in Hollywood and Toronto, has changed ownership since the 1980s, when Andrew Alexander, a producer and former head of the Toronto location, co-owns and heads Took over executive After opening in 1959, Second City helped fire the careers of Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Keegan Michael-Key. Pre-pandemic, it was almost certainly the largest live comedy business in the nation, with over 700 full-time and part-time employees and an actor equity stage contract. The sale price was not disclosed, but was estimated at $ 50 million The Financial Times.

In the statement, President of Second City (also known as Second City), Steve Johnston said, “We are thrilled to work with ZMC as we deliver a world class comedy delivering a fair and thriving company Continue to change in the environment. For our audience. “

The move comes in the form of another city, which is struggling with a business slump due to the epidemic bandh. It closed its in-person shows, tours, classes and corporate workshops – a large part of its business – though the theater was intended to rebound with online comedy and digital content. When Alexander announced that he was looking for buyers last October, They said It was “time for new ideas for new generations to take the company to the next level.”

The second city is also trying to restructure itself after intense criticism for tackling the race. Alexander, who had been associated with the theater for nearly 50 years, made a sudden move last summer, when Black Performers publicly stated their experiences of stereotyping and demolition. A series of open letters from theater artists and staff members outlined complex and costly steps for theater to tackle institutional racism, and another for City Leadership Agreed to wholesale changes.

Theater leaders wrote, “We are ready to tear it down completely and start again.” An open letter. He appointed a new interim executive director, Anthony Leblanc, the first black leader in the company’s history, and took a number of other measures, even with its display locations closed.

The sale announcement suggested that ZMC would not abandon the scheme. Jordan Turkwit, Co-Chief Investment Officer and Managing Partner at ZMC, said, “We are very excited with the management and other talent in developing the brand and building a diverse organization that elevates other voices.” .



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