ICM Partners & Howie Mandel Acquire Just For Laughs Group

ICM Partners and longtime client Howie Mandel have joined forces as investors in acquiring Just For Laughs Group, which produces Montreal’s annual Just For Laughs comedy festival, along with international comedy tours, TV specials and other annual events around the world. 

Mandel, ICM Partners managing director Chris Silbermann and Just For Laughs Festival chairman of the board Pierre-Marc Johnson broke the news today with an announcement explaining that the acquisition will ensure Just For Laughs will continue thriving and growing, while keeping the same leadership and personnel at the helm.  The Canadian comedian and the talent agency are also looking to grow the investment group, with talks happening with “prominent local Quebec players” to join in.  
Montreal’s Just For Laughs – which began as a French comedy festival in 1983 and is now known as the largest comedy fest in the world – returns to various venues in the city July 11-29. 
As for Just For Laughs Group / Groupe Juste pour rire, the global comedy enterprise has production and distribution businesses in more than 135 countries, with subsidiaries in the U.S> and France. The group has taken over the skies too, with programming featured on more than 100 airlines around the world. 
“The Montreal Just For Laughs Festival is part of Montreal’s DNA, and we are looking forward to perpetuating this great cultural legacy,” Mandel, Silbermann and Just For Laughs said in a joint statement. 
“The Festival will continue to be held in Montreal each summer, and jobs and offices will remain in Montreal. We will be counting on the local team’s expertise as well as on partners and governments who have supported the Festival for decades and made it the Canadian flagship that it is. We are excited to put together a phenomenal 2018 edition, and we will continue to work closely with local talent for years to come. JFL’s history of success will be continued: its outdoor component, its French and English components, and the amazing talent, both from Quebec and from around the world, that makes this Festival so unique.”
Just For Laughs festival founder Gilbert Rozon announced in October that he would sell his shares in the fest after he was accused of sexual misconduct by 10 women and resigned as president of Just for Laughs, according to CBC News. Pollstar previously reported that Montreux Comedy Festival founder Grégoire Furrer had considered buying the majority stake in the festival.