Just For Laughs Group, the company behind the annual Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal as well as international comedy tours, festivals, and television specials, just got new owners. The company announced today that Canada native Howie Mandel and US-based talent agency ICM Partners are leading an investor group that has acquired the company. The news comes months after JFL founder Gilbert Rozon had stepped down from the company following sexual misconduct allegations, after which his controlling stake in JFL went up for sale. Here’s more from the press release:
The acquisition will enable Just For Laughs to continue to thrive and grow on a worldwide basis. The plan calls for Just For Laughs and its French counterpart, Festival Juste pour rire, to be run exactly as they have, with all the same leadership and personnel in place. Just For Laughs has grown and diversified in a major way since its inception as a French comedy festival in Montreal in 1983. Today, it is a global group with subsidiaries in the United States and France. It has production and distribution businesses in more than 135 countries and its programming is seen on more than 100 airlines worldwide. “I have always been a big fan of Montreal and the Just For Laughs festival. I have performed at JFL many times over the last 10 years, and I have nothing but love for this event. I consider it to be a cultural treasure not only for the Montreal and Quebec communities, but also for Canada; and I am very excited to be part of this group of investors that will ensure the Festival’s long term success, while growing their global comedy brand,” added Howie Mandel.
The acquisition will reportedly not affect jobs and offices in Montreal as well as the annual festival – this year’s is slated to take place from Saturday, July 14th through the Saturday the 28th. “The Montreal Just For Laughs Festival is part of Montreal’s DNA, and we are looking forward to perpetuating this great cultural legacy,” Mandel, ICM’s Chris Silvermann, and JFL said in today’s statement.