Populous secures private equity investment to aid growth plans

Concept image of a new Inter Milan stadium in Rozzano

Featured image credit: Populous

Private equity firm Providence Equity Partners has acquired a minority stake in Populous, a deal the sports and entertainment venue architectural and design firm states will allow it to broaden its reach and pursue both organic and inorganic growth opportunities globally.

Financial terms of the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, were not disclosed, but the two parties state they anticipate the investment will support Populous’ continued growth and allow the company to target opportunities to expand its service offerings and geographic presence. Populous will continue to be led by one of its founders and global chair, Earl Santee, and its existing leadership.

The Providence deal was announced yesterday (Tuesday) after Monday’s news that Pennsylvania State University had selected Populous to design a wide-ranging multi-year renovation of Beaver Stadium, the second largest stadium in the US.

Penn State president Neeli Bendapudi announced in February that Beaver Stadium, which has a capacity of 106,000, will be undergoing a major renovation project. The stadium opened in 1960 and its last major renovation was in 2001.

Italian Serie A football club Inter Milan last week offered a glimpse of life after the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza by revealing initial concept images of a new 70,000-capacity stadium that it hopes will open ahead of the 2028-29 season. understands that Inter is working with Populous on the project in the Rozzano comune.

Meanwhile, Las Vegas’ new Sphere venue officially opened on September 29 after U2 kicked off a 25-show residency at the 18,600-capacity arena. The Populous-designed facility has been built at a cost of $2.3bn (£1.89bn/€2.17bn)

Commenting on the Providence deal, Santee said: “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. 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 capitalise on additional growth opportunities while retaining the core values and culture that are integral to Populous.”

Scott Marimow, a managing director at Providence, added: “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.

“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.”