Chantal Bolzern, head of the performance rights department at Swiss collection society SUISA, outlines the importance of co-operation between PROs and promoters
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Eventim acquisition of Gadget abc Entertainment Group includes wepromote festival assets OpenAir St Gallen, SummerDays, Seaside and Unique Moments
By Gordon Masson on 23 Jan 2020
CTS Eventim has acquired a majority stake in newly founded Swiss powerhouse Gadget abc Entertainment Group AG, which unites André Béchir’s abc Production with the wepromote consortium of companies. The deal gives both Eventim and Live Nation significant Swiss holdings, after the latter’s purchase of Mainland Music in January last year.
The wepromote joint venture was formed four years ago by a group of Swiss promoters including Gadget Entertainment, Incognito Productions, wildpony, OpenAir St Gallen, SummerDays Festival, Seaside Festival and wepromote Live.
Financial terms of Eventim’s acquisition have not been disclosed, but Gadget abc Entertainment will cover multiple facets of the music business, from live entertainment (concerts/bookings) to festivals, to artist management (including labels/publishing) and brand partnerships (marketing, consulting and activations). André Béchir, long-term CEO of abc Production, will remain at the company in a consultative role.
As independent promoters, the partners behind the wepromote group pooled their resources to successfully apply their shared expertise at existing festivals and large concerts, as well as new projects such as the Seaside Festival in Spiez and Unique Moments at the National Museum in Zürich. The companies also promoted Rammstein’s sold-out stadium show in Bern last summer and have the band returning for two-sold out stadium gigs in Zürich in June 2020.
According to wepromote chairman, Christof Huber, the partnership with abc and Eventim marks the logical next move for the group’s principals. “We have been working together towards this step for a long time,” reveals Huber. “With CTS Eventim coming on board and integrating abc Production’s business, we can create the necessary momentum for our continued development.”
“The expansion of Eventim Live, our international promoter network, is coming along nicely”
The new company will create additional synergies and is uniquely positioned within the music and live entertainment markets due to its comprehensive service portfolio. “Thanks to our diversification, we are ideally situated for the rapid changes within the market environment and are able to use our many synergies in an optimal way,” states Oliver Rosa, one of the managing partners of the new Gadget abc Entertainment Group.
Gadget abc’s portfolio also includes ALL IN ONE Communication AG, You are Special-Events AG, as well as Production Service Switzerland AG. The unified companies will automatically become part of the Eventim Live promoter network (whose most recent addition is Austria’s Barracuda Music as member #29), giving them more direct access to the international live music.
“Merging the existing companies is a logical and natural next step that will shape the live business in Switzerland for many years to come,” says Béchir. “I look forward to cooperating with Gadget abc Entertainment Group AG as a consultant and will actively support them with my extensive knowledge and experience.”
CTV Eventim CEO, Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, comments, “With the acquisition of the majority stake in Gadget and wepromote and the subsequent integration of abc Production, we are able to streamline and expand our business activities in the Swiss live entertainment market.
“Gadget abc Entertainment Group AG constitutes a new powerful event and entertainment network. The expansion of Eventim Live, our international promoter network, is coming along nicely. Not only can we offer artists powerful ticketing options, but also enhanced international touring possibilities and custom solutions – all from a single source.”
“We have been working together towards this step for a long time”
Owner-operated Gadget abc Entertainment consisted of five partners, centred on Christof Huber, festival director in St Gallen and Arbon. Other partners are Cyrill Stadler, long-standing CFO and board member of the wepromote Group; and Gadget founders Eric Kramer, Oliver Rosa, and Stefan Wyss. Kramer and Rosa will represent the company as managing partners; Wyss will run the live business; Huber will manage festival-related activities; and Stadler takes on the role of financial director.
Additionally, wildpony AG (headed by Philippe Cornu in partnership with Pascal Rötheli), will be integrated in the new enterprise, and Huber’s Incognito Productions AG, based in St Gallen, will also be part of the merger.
Reto Lazzarotto, long-standing partner of Gadget Entertainment AG, will leave the company at his own request. He will, however, retain a close relationship with Gadget as a cooperating partner. In addition, Martin Zahner, long-standing board member-president of Openair St Gallen, will resign from all of his functions within the wepromote group.
Managing partner Kramer adds, “We will be able to leverage our reliability and consistency as an important shaper within the Swiss music business. We will be better able to respond to market conditions and take our business to a successful future.”
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