US & Canada

Just for Laughs comedy festival sold to Howie Mandel

Canadian comedian Howie Mandel Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Canadian comedian Howie Mandel is one of the partners buying the Just for Laughs comedy festival

Canada's Just for Laughs comedy festival, the world's largest of its kind, has been sold to a US talent agency and comedian Howie Mandel.

The Canadian funny man, along with Los Angeles-based ICM Partners, say the global comedy enterprise will remain in its home city of Montreal.

The festival will also maintain its current leadership and personnel.

Just for Laughs went on sale after its founder and majority shareholder Gilbert Rozon resigned in October.

The Canadian producer left several television productions and stepped down as the boss of the comedy festival amid accusations he sexually abused and harassed several women.

He has denied the allegations against him and none have been proven in court.

In the statement released on Wednesday, the new owners say they are also in talks with prominent local Quebec players to join the investment group.

Mr Mandel said in a statement that he has "nothing but love" for the summer comedy festival.

"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," said the America's Got Talent judge.

The purchasing partners did not disclose the financial details of the deal.

Mr Rozon founded the Just for Laughs festival in 1983 and expanded the empire to include television shows and specials.

The Just for Laughs brand is currently used in 150 countries, including in the United States and France.

Its programming is also seen on more than 100 airlines worldwide.

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