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Ticketers go to war over ‘fake news’

Milan’s public prosecutor is investigating See Tickets parent Vivendi for alleged market manipulation following its acquisition of a 28.8% stake in Italian entertainment group Mediaset.

Reuters reports several high-ranking Vivendi executives, including chairman Vincent Bolloré, are being probed under a law banning the dissemination of fake news to influence share prices.

Mediaset, founded by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi (pictured), is known primarily as Italy’s largest commercial broadcaster, but also has a live entertainment ticketing arm, Taquilla Mediaset (‘Mediaset Box Office’), closely linked with Ticketmaster.

A statement from Vivendi, released today, says the investigation is the result of “an unfounded and abusive lawsuit filed by the Berlusconis” and emphasises it “does not in any way signify any accusation against any person”.

“The investigation of Vivendi executives … is the result of an unfounded and abusive lawsuit filed by the Berlusconis”

In other Vivendi news, the French multinational today released its 2016 full-year financial results, showing a 0.5% increase in revenue to €10.82 billion but a 2.9% decline in EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) to €1.2bn.

In ticketing, Vivendi Ticketing (See Tickets UK and US, Digitick in France) generated revenues of €52 million, up 11.8% on 2015 – an improvement on the +6.6% seen in quarters one to three.

Revenue was static at the Olympia venue in Paris, which Vivendi says is satisfactory given the “difficult environment following the November 2016 Paris bombings”.


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Strong quarter for live as Vivendi turnover up 6%

Strong growth from its live and ticketing operations helped Vivendi increase turnover by 5.9% in the three months ending 30 September, its third-quarter (Q3) results reveal.

Revenues from Vivendi Village – the subsidiary that includes the French multinational’s ticketing operations (See Tickets and Digitick), live event producer Vivendi Talents&Live and the 1,772-cap. Olympia venue in Paris – grew from €22 million in Q3 2015 to €24m; an increase of 5.8%, or 12.1% on a constant-currency basis (eliminating the effects of exchange-rate fluctuations).

Vivendi’s Q3 financial report also reveals its €159m acquisition in April of a 15% stake in French retail group Fnac will serve as the basis for “increased co-operation in live events […] and in ticketing in certain countries by teaming up with Vivendi Ticketing”.

Revenues from Vivendi Village grew from €22 million to €24m – an increase of 12.1% on a constant-currency basis

Unlike in Q2, however – when Vivendi Village vastly outgrew recorded music giant Universal Music Group (UMG) – it was UMG’s time to shine in Q3, with impressive 10.8% growth to €1.308 billion.

This can be attributed to new “agreements with streaming players ranging from Pandora to iHeartMedia to Amazon” and the “expansion of streaming [into] a number of emerging markets, including China, Russia, Brazil and Africa”.


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Ministry of Sound signs See Tickets deal

Ministry of Sound has appointed See Tickets as its primary ticket agency for all events, including those at its flagship London superclub.

Under the terms of the deal, See Tickets – owned by French conglomerate Vivendi – will provide Ministry of Sound with a full-service solution encompassing ticketing, marketing, web development and on-site support. See’s ticketing platform also will power the Ministry of Sound club’s website.

Martin Fitzgerald, See Tickets’ chief commercial officer, says: “The dance and club side of our business has enjoyed significant growth over the last 12 months after an increased focus on development in this area. To be able to announce a partnership with Ministry of Sound, an iconic club and respected brand, is something we are incredibly pleased about.

“To be able to announce a partnership with Ministry of Sound, an iconic club and respected brand, is something we are incredibly pleased about”

“What we have been able to demonstrate to Ministry of Sound is that our powerful ticketing technology will support and enhance the customer journey. We also have a significant customer base and marketing tools at our disposal to ultimately help increase ticket sales.”

Other See club/dance clients include Circuit Clubbing, which manages London’s Fire and Lightbox (both 600-cap.), the Soundwave Croatia festival, Mint Warehouse in Leeds (1,000-cap.) and Love Saves The Day festival in Bristol.

Vivendi Village, the subsidiary that includes the Paris-based company’s See Tickets and Digitick ticketing operations, posted revenue growth of 6.9% in the first half of 2016.


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Vivendi buys Flavorus from SFX

Vivendi Ticketing, the Delaware-based subsidiary of French mass media conglomerate Vivendi that owns See Group (See Tickets UK and US) and Digitick, has agreed to acquire Flavorus from SFX Entertainment for US$4 million.

Vivendi, also the parent company of Universal Music Group (which bought marketing agency Fame House from SFX last month), won an auction held at the New York offices of law firm Greenberg Traurig on 2 and 3 June. It offered $4m in cash, minus the ‘estimated closing aggregate cure amount’, or debts owed by Flavorus, of which the largest are to SFX’s own festivals: $944,000 to Spring Awakening and $1.2m to Mysteryland. (The court document notes, however, that these debts are “expected to be $0 at the closing [of the sale] since [they] will occur after ticket proceeds for [these events] are fully settled with the client.”)

Vivendi offered $4 million in cash, minus debts owed by Flavorus

Other creditors owed money by ticket outlet Flavorus, which has exclusive ticketing rights to dance music festivals HARD and Electric Daisy Carnival, include beauty/lifestyle brand BeautyCon ($127,189.53), gay festival Long Beach Pride ($245,421.79) and live streaming company Paxahau ($163,588).

The final purchase agreement will go before the Delaware bankruptcy court for approval this Wednesday (8 June).

There has so far been no update from the court on the claim by out-of-pocket cloud computing company Salesforce, which was as of 23 May seeking over $300,000 from Flavorus’s eventual buyer.