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Pollen drafts in Goldman Sachs in search for buyer

The music, travel and experiences start-up is reportedly working with the investment bank to secure new funding

By James Hanley on 26 Jul 2022

Justin Bieber

Pollen has worked with acts such as Justin Bieber

Music, travel and experiences start-up Pollen has reportedly drafted in Goldman Sachs as it seeks to find a buyer.

The report by Sky News says Pollen is working with the investment bank to secure new funding, with indicative bids due earlier this month, and has asked restructuring specialist Kroll to assist with the process, although it is suggested that Kroll’s involvement is limited to Pollen’s student travel division.

A spokesperson for Pollen declined to comment on the report.

Founded in 2014 by brothers Callum and Liam Negus-Fancey, London-headquartered Pollen has organised artist-curated weekenders such as a Bring Me The Horizon four-day festival in Malta, the Unruly Culture Splash Weekender in Croatia with Popcaan, Diplo’s Higher Ground festival in Cabo, Mexico and Justin Bieber & Friends in Las Vegas, US. Its latest collaboration, Green Light Gang with 50 Cent, is set for Malta from 22-26 September.

The company raised US$150 million in a Series C round in April, only to let over 150 members of staff go in the UK and US a month later.

“As part of closing our Series C round, we agreed on a new plan with our investors where we will continue to show strong growth while taking the business to profitability faster through greater focus and cutting our costs by 15%,” Callum Negus-Fancey told Music Business Worldwide.

“All shareholders are really supportive of our change in strategy and agree it’s the best way to succeed and create value in the current environment”

Pollen Presents head of partnerships Zeon Richards also departed the firm this summer “citing practices within the company which do not align with my ethics”.

A report by Sifted said that Pollen had missed its June payroll and was working to “secure new funding, potentially in the form of an acquisition”. Pollen described the payroll “mis-timing” was an “an isolated, one-off event”.

In a press release earlier this month, the firm announced it was “moving from being a venture-backed loss making technology company focused on topline growth to an experiences and entertainment company focused on sustainable profitability”.

“All shareholders are really supportive of our change in strategy and agree it’s the best way to succeed and create value in the current environment,” added the statement.

Pollen runs two offerings: Pollen Presents, which curates experiences for customers across travel, music, and more; and Pollen+ which partners with promoters and music festivals to offer customers who book through its platforms perks at events.

The company previously raised over $100m in venture capital funding from investors including Kindred, Northzone, Sienna Capital, Backed and Draper Spirit.


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