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Investcorp acquires Italy’s Vivaticket

Bahrain-based Investcorp, an alternative investment specialist, has acquired Italian ticketing software provider Ticket Holding, known as Vivaticket.

Investcorp, which acquired a minority stake in United Talent Agency last year, is buying Vivaticket from co-founders Luca Montebugnoli and Luana Sabattini, as well as board members Giuseppe Camillo Pilenga and Stefano Landi.

Financial details for the transaction, which is expected to close by the end of the year, have not been disclosed.

Both co-founders and the Vivaticket management team will remain involved in the company, holding “a meaningful stake”.

The Bologna-headquartered company works with more than 2,100 clients across 50 countries, including Disney World and FC Barcelona, and has provided ticketing services for live events including Vasco Rossi’s record-breaking show in Modena Park (225,000 tickets sold) and tour dates by ACDC, Queen, Bruce Springsteen and Renato Zero.

“Vivaticket is a formidable customer-oriented software solutions provider with an impressive and entrepreneurial management team,” says Daniel Lopez-Cruz, head of Investcorp’s European private equity group.

“Investcorp […] will be able to further accelerate the growth of Vivaticket with the aim of competing amongst the top three players globally”

“As global demand for entertainment and experiential content continues to increase, Vivaticket is ideally positioned to capitalise on multiple growth opportunities that directly align with Investcorp’s investment expertise.”

Lopez-Cruz states the partnership will support Vivaticket’s “international growth” alluding to “add-on acquisitions” that will “expand the company’s geographic footprint and further strengthen its presence in existing markets.”

“Investcorp is a distinguished and highly professional partner that, together with the existing management team, will be able to further accelerate the growth of Vivaticket with the aim of competing amongst the top three players globally,” comments Vivaticket co-founder Montebugnoli.

The Vivaticket executive stresses that the company’s “ethical and professional principles”, “technological innovation” and the “ability to attract talent” will remain at the core of the business.

Vivaticket, formerly Best Union, is one of three leading primary ticketing companies in Italy, along with CTS Eventim’s TicketOne and Live Nation’s Ticketmaster Italy. The company absorbed rival BookingShow in 2018.

With established operations in ten countries across Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia Pacific, the company has offices in Italy, Spain, Australia, UAE, UK, France, the Unites States and Singapore.

 


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UTA sells minority stakes to investment firms

In what CEO Jeremy Zimmer calls a “transformative event” for the agency, United Talent Agency (UTA) has sold minority equity stakes in the company to Investcorp and Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments).

The Beverly Hills-based agency acquired UK music powerhouse the Agency Group (TAG) in August 2015, and over the past year has acquired interests in live speaking (Greater Talent Network), electronic music (Circle Talent Agency) and esports (Press X and Everyday Influencers). The new influx of capital will be used to “accelerate” UTA’s growth, according to a statement, “enhance UTA’s services and continue to invest in resources to support its clients and colleagues in a time of change and innovation in content creation and distribution”.

Terms were not disclosed, although UTA says its partners retain majority ownership and control of the company. PSP, one of Canada’s largest pension investment managers, with assets of US$119 billion under management, and Bahrain-based Investcorp, which manages more than $22bn in assets globally, join existing investor Jeffrey Ubben as UTA’s ‘capital partners’.

“We were deliberate about finding the right investment partners who recognise UTA as a business that puts clients first”

Zimmer, who founded UTA in 1991 alongside Jim Berkus and Peter Benedek, says: “This is a transformative event for UTA. There has never been a greater moment of change and opportunity in our industry for artists, creators and companies like ours.

“We were deliberate about finding the right investment partners who recognise UTA as a business that puts clients first, exemplifies a collaborative and diverse culture and is focused long term on capitalising on the unique opportunities that disruption and transformation provide. We found that in Investcorp and PSP Investments.”

“The entertainment industry is experiencing tremendous evolution,” adds Simon Marc (pictured), head of private equity at PSP Investments. “As demand for high-quality content is greater than ever, UTA is uniquely positioned to benefit from the transformation in the sector. We are excited to partner with Jeremy Zimmer and UTA’s world-class management team and look forward to backing UTA in the next phase of its growth.”

 


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