The Second City, the Iconic Sketch and Improv Comedy Brand, Announces Intention to Sell

Sale of the legendary comedy empire that helped launch the careers of comedians from John Belushi to Tina Fey to Keegan-Michael Key

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The owners of The Second City, the world’s premier brand in improvisation and sketch-based comedy entertainment and education, announced plans today to sell the iconic brand’s diversified business. This is only the second time in the comedy empire’s 60-year history that it has been available for sale. As it has expanded beyond the theatrical stage in Chicago, the brand has established a strong and growing presence in North America through dozens of partnerships, amongst thousands of students, and with hundreds of Fortune 1000 clients. Global investment bank Houlihan Lokey will advise on the sale on behalf of The Second City.

The company will consider qualified expressions of interest through a process that will play out over the coming months. The company’s theaters are open for live shows in Toronto, and the evolving situations in Chicago and Los Angeles are being closely monitored. Both consumer and corporate education have moved online with incredible adaptation on the part of its 25,000-strong student body and blue chip client base.

“While all our lives have been affected by the pandemic, The Second City has found green shoots that have further highlighted our growth potential,” said Steve Johnston, president. “The company’s growth plan leverages Second City’s unique position in the comedy ecosystem as the leader in both education and live sketch and improv performance to capture market share in the short to medium term, as well as accelerate a transition toward digital delivery of programming, which is already off to a great start.”

Long a leader for representation of diverse voices on stage, the company is also investing significantly in a ground-up rebuild of its administrative culture and policies. The next generation of onstage and offstage leadership is being advised by experts in the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion and has publicly committed to becoming an industry leader in operationalizing DEI policies and practices across the entire organization.

“I have had an extraordinary 47-year run guiding this wonderful living, breathing, dynamic comedy institution. Watching the talent development process has given me more joy than one person should be allowed,” said Andrew Alexander, a current owner of The Second City and former CEO. “But it is time for a new generation with fresh ideas to take the company to the next level.”

Inquiries and requests for additional information should be directed to the Houlihan Lokey representatives listed below. Press inquiries should be directed to the press contacts listed below.

About The Second City

Since opening its doors over 60 years ago, The Second City has grown to become the world’s premier comedy brand, focused on the mission of entertaining, inspiring, and transforming through courageous comedy. Renowned for its legendary theaters in Chicago, Toronto and Hollywood, alumni of The Second City’s stages, touring companies, theatrical production, and Emmy-winning iconic TV show SCTV include some of the biggest and most beloved names in entertainment, including Alan Arkin, Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Aidy Bryant, John Candy, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Keegan-Michael Key, Eugene Levy, Jane Lynch, Jack McBrayer, Bill Murray, Mike Myers, Catherine O’Hara, Amy Poehler, Gilda Radner, Harold Ramis, Chris Redd, Joan Rivers, Sam Richardson, Amber Ruffin, Amy Sedaris, Martin Short, Jason Sudeikis, and Fred Willard. The Second City brings its unique approach to interactive entertainment and education through a multitude of in-person and digital programming, reaching tens of thousands of students of improvisational-based arts and The Second City Film School annually, as well as hundreds of Fortune 1000 companies. The comedic empire continues to push new boundaries across a variety of platforms, allowing audiences worldwide to experience The Second City’s wholly unique approach to laughter.

About Houlihan Lokey

Houlihan Lokey (NYSE:HLI) is a global investment bank with expertise in mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, financial restructuring, and valuation. The firm serves corporations, institutions, and governments worldwide with offices in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region. Independent advice and intellectual rigor are hallmarks of the firm’s commitment to client success across its advisory services. Houlihan Lokey is the No. 1 M&A advisor for the past five consecutive years in the U.S., the No. 1 global restructuring advisor for the past six consecutive years, and the No. 1 global M&A fairness opinion advisor over the past 20 years, all based on number of transactions and according to data provided by Refinitiv (formerly Thomson Reuters). For more information, please visit www.hl.com.

Contacts

Press
Sarah Rothman

Sarah.Rothman@LedeCompany.com

Anna Bailer

Anna.Bailer@LedeCompany.com

Houlihan Lokey
Daniel Gossels

DGossels@HL.com

TeddyShaw

TShaw@HL.com

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