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Massie leads buy-out after Vibe put in administration

After failing to secure anticipated new investment, the transparent ticket resale platform is restructuring following a management buy-out

By Jon Chapple on 10 May 2018

Vibe Tickets founder Luke Massie has bought the business from administrators

Vibe founder Luke Massie has bought the business from administrators


image © Vibe Tickets

THEVIBE Ltd, the UK ticket resale platform trading as Vibe Tickets, has been placed into administration.

According to investor Vela Technologies – which first acquired a stake in the business in October 2016 – the £750,000 raised by Lancashire-based Vibe the following October represented around six months’ worth of future cash requirements, “during which time it was anticipated that discussions with new investors and existing shareholders would result in Vibe Tickets being able to raise further funds of in excess of £1m”.

When those funds weren’t forthcoming, says Vela, it became clear “there was a requirement to restructure the Vibe Tickets business in order to attract more substantial funding from investors.

“As a result it has  not been possible for Vibe Tickets to reach agreement on the terms of a further fundraise with investors. The board of Vibe Tickets therefore had no alternative but to seek advice which required the directors to act in the interests of both creditors and shareholders, resulting in THEVIBE Ltd being placed into administration on 30 April 2018.”

However, the business will continue in a different guise: company founder Luke Massie has reportedly bought Vibe from administrators and formed a new holding company, Vibe Group Holdings Ltd (VGHL). VGHL intends to acquire 100% of Vibe Tickets and 90% of Vibe Pay, a new peer-to-peer payment platform, in the coming weeks.

IQ understands the collapse of THEVIBE Ltd follows an aborted attempt to transform Vibe, a social, ‘ethical’ ticket marketplace, into a more conventional secondary ticketing platform in late 2017. The company hired several new staff, including ex-Ticketmaster/Get Me In! execs Steph Maxwell and Daniel Gould, in October, to that end, with the remit of building relationships with promoters and securing ticket inventory.

“The corporate structure surrounding Vibe Tickets did not lend itself to securing further funding”

“It felt like we were heading in the wrong direction,” according a person close to the company. “We were becoming another Viagogo or Get Me In!, but the thinking was that because it was transparent, it was better.”

Those new hires have since been let go, with another industry source revealing around seven Vibe staff have lost their jobs in the past few months. Also out is Cornel Lazar, Vibe’s ex-marketing director – also formerly of Ticketmaster – who resigned citing concerns over the direction of the business.

IQ has contacted Massie for comment on the new company structure.

Although Vibe is currently a “pre-revenue business”, says Vela, the investment firm’s executive director, Anthony Laiker, remains bullish on the platform’s future.

“Vibe has made strong headway, reaching over 84,000 users and has generated over £7m of ticket volume, all with minimal marketing spend,” comments Laiker. “Vibe Tickets is doing what it set out to do: disrupting the big players.

“Various financing routes for Vibe Tickets were explored. However, the corporate structure surrounding Vibe Tickets did not lend itself to securing further funding. Based on previous discussions with the management of Vibe Tickets, we anticipate that the ‘restructured’ Vibe business will provide the platform for Vibe to engage with parties who have expressed interest in supporting and growing the business further.”

Further investment is expected from Vela (£200,000) and investor Scott Fletcher MBE (£500,000) following the restructuring.

 


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