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Russia telco MTS makes grab for concert ticket market

Through the total acquisition of Ticketland and partial buy-out of Ponominalu, Russia's no1 mobile operator hopes to drive growth in the market for mobile event tickets

By Jon Chapple on 15 Feb 2018

Mikhail Minin, Ponominalu, MTS

image © Ponominalu

Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), Russia’s largest mobile network operator, has acquired majority stakes in Ticketland and Ponominalu, two of the country’s leading event ticketing companies.

MTS – which turned over US$6.5bn in 2016, and is also the biggest mobile telco in the CIS (most of the former Soviet Union) – paid ₽3.25bn ($57.2m) for for a 100% stake in Ticketland owner MDTZK, and around ₽387m ($6.8m) for 78.2% of Ponominalu parent Kulturnaya Sluzhba, in a major play for control of the Russian live event ticketing market.

According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2017, Ticketland and Ponominalu are two of the leading primary ticketers in Russia, with also Kassir, Muzbilet, RedKassa and CTS Eventim-owned Parter among other players. MTS says Ticketland is dominant in theatre shows, musicals and classical concerts, and also owns the largest distribution network in Moscow, while Ponominalu is no1 for concert ticketing.

Mikhail Minin (pictured), founder and CEO of Pomominalu, retains a 21.8% stake in the business, which is valued at ₽495m, with an option to sell his share to MTS before 2020. MTS may also increase its share to 100% by the end of 2020 based on “key business metrics”.

“We expect to soon be in a leading position in the intriguing, developing market of mobile ticketing”

Ticketland and Ponominalu will both continue under their current management, with MTS overseeing strategic development and exercising financial control. Both deals have already received regulatory approval.

Vyacheslav Nikolaev, vice-president of marketing at MTS, says the company hopes to drive further adoption of mobile ticketing throughout Russia, where paperless ticketing is already on the up.

“Buying a ticket to a live event, whether it is a concert or a theatre production, should absolutely be done through a smartphone,” he explains. “The convenience is too great not to bring these types of services to our customers, and it is obvious that MTS – with its size, scale and scope – should be at the forefront, driving growth in a significant market throughout Russia. On the basis of both Ticketland.ru and Ponominalu.ru, we expect to soon be in a leading position in this intriguing, developing market.”


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