x

The latest industry news to your inbox.


I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

StubHub considering IPO, targets $16.5bn valuation

Ticket resale platform StubHub is reportedly planning to go public this summer if it can achieve a valuation of around US$16.5 billion (€15.5bn).

The Information, which broke the news, cites sources close to StubHub, but says the company may call off the offering if it is unable to approach its $16.5bn target – in line with what it was valued at during its 2021 round of private funding.

The American firm, which is understood to have been working with JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs on the IPO over the past two years, is said to have debts of more than $2bn. It was previously rumoured to be going public via a direct listing in 2022.

StubHub, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs have all declined to comment on the timing of the offering.

CNBC notes that ticket platform SeatGeek has also reportedly been sizing up a potential IPO this year, while publicly traded competitors Vivid Seats and Live Nation are valued at $1.2bn and close to $24bn, respectively, according to FactSet.

Viagogo announced its $4bn acquisition of StubHub in 2019

Viagogo announced its acquisition of StubHub for US$4.05bn in 2019 in a landmark deal that brought together the world’s two largest secondary ticket sellers, and placed Viagogo founder and CEO Eric Baker back in control of the company he co-founded in 2000.

The sale was approved by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) after Viagogo was forced to sell its international business due to competition concerns. It offloaded its StubHub business outside of North America to investment firm Digital Fuel Capital LLC for an undisclosed sum in 2021.

Viagogo has also been back in the news this week, with the Swiss-headquartered firm’s global MD Cris Miller speaking out against Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s pledge to introduce new legislation to cap ticket resale in the UK if the party wins the next general election.

Measures would include restricting the resale of tickets at more than a small, set percentage above face value, and limiting the number of tickets individual resellers can list. But Miller claimed that while the move is “well-intentioned”, “price caps just don’t work”.

“What happens with price caps is that the highest-demand part of the market, where you might see prices go above the original price, will just get driven underground,” he told the Guardian.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

DEAG set to return to stock market

German live entertainment powerhouse DEAG has confirmed its intention to return to the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in Q1 2024.

The group plans a listing and offering consisting of a capital increase of €40-50 million, together with an additional offering of existing shares from the holdings of current shareholders.

The company first went public in 1998 and delisted in January 2021 in the wake of the pandemic after accepting a takeover offer from its largest single shareholder Apeiron Investment Group and its Malta-based subsidiary Musai Capital.

Berlin-headquartered DEAG says the proceeds from the re-IPO will be primarily used to further accelerate its growth “in line with its Buy & Build acquisition strategy”, with a focus on “high margin” ticketing businesses and live entertainment opportunities.

As part of the move, DEAG plans to restructure the business into two new segments – live entertainment and ticketing and service – with a key part of the strategy being to drive more of DEAG’s ticket sales through its own ticketing platform. The firm intends to appoint an additional independent supervisory board member within six months of the listing.

“We believe that there is an enormous growth potential in our business,” says DEAG co-CEO Detlef Kornett. “From driving ticket sales toward our own ticketing platforms to acquiring companies which increase synergies within our group and strengthen our strategy of expanded growth in both our live entertainment and ticketing and services businesses, the road ahead of us is paved with opportunity.”

“The foundation of our business stands on our strong historical growth, as shown by the ever increasing number of events we offer since 2019”

The transaction is expected to consist of an admission to the prime standard on the regulated market of Frankfurt Stock Exchange, plus an offering of new shares together with an amount of existing shares from the holdings of current shareholders.

DEAG subsidiaries include Kilimanjaro Group (UK), Wizard Promotions (DE), UK Live, My Ticket (DE, AT, UK) and Belladrum Tartan Heart festival (UK). The live entertainment group announced a “consolidation break” in early 2023 after acquiring 15 companies in the previous two and a half years, including Scottish promoter Regular Music, Ireland’s tickets.ie. platform and German festivals Indian SpiritClassic Open Air and Airbeat One, along with CSB Island EntertainmentFane ProductionsGigantic.com and C² Concerts.

In its most recent financial results, released last November, DEAG trumpeted a “new level of revenue and earnings” after revenue leapt by 73.3% from €123.1m to €213.3m, compared to the last pre-Covid year of 2019.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) also rose significantly. The company was aiming for revenue of more than €300m for 2023 as a whole. In 2022, DEAG achieved revenues of €324.8m and an EBITDA of €30.9m.

“The foundation of our business stands on our strong historical growth, as shown by the ever increasing number of events we offer since 2019 – recurring revenues from over 30 festivals, intellectual property created from children’s musicals to lightrails and our hallmark New Year’s Eve event at the Brandenburg Gate,” adds Kornett.

“We continue to expand our existing, and capitalise on new, business opportunities and develop strategies to complement this business growth in our existing and new markets. As we have shown in the past, we will look to the future with full confidence at the prospects for our business.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

ATC raises £4m+ in IPO

UK-based music company ATC is planning to float on London’s Aquis Stock Exchange next week after raising £4.15 million (€4.86m) in its initial public offer (IPO).

Asset management company Schroders bought almost a 10% stake in the IPO, which was priced at 153p per share, giving the company a market capitalisation of approximately £14.66m on admission, according to Proactive Investors.

ATC (All Things Considered Group Plc) said it will use the money raised to provide additional funds and presence to enable the directors to seek growth across each of the company’s separate divisions.

The company’s divisions include booking agency ATC Live, led by Alex Bruford, which boasts a roster of more than 350 artists including Fontaines D.C, Georgia, Alma, Goat Girl, Mac Demarco, Metronomy and Nick Cave.

“[The new investors] appreciate the scale of the opportunity out there for a holistic artist-focused music group”

ATC Management, meanwhile, represents artists such as Faithless, Jonny Marr and Laura Marling and PJ Harvey.

The company also produces livestream events through subsidiary company Driift, and now also operates in the sync, brand partnerships and promotions sectors through a variety of strategic partnerships.

Headquartered in London, ATC also has offices in Los Angeles and Copenhagen.

Chief executive Adam Driscoll, says: “I am delighted that new investors have bought into our vision, appreciating the scale of the opportunity out there for a holistic artist-focused music group in a rapidly evolving industry.”

“The board and I look forward to welcoming our new institutional and individual shareholders to the group.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Universal IPO sounds high note for music shares

Universal Music Group (UMG) share price rocketed on its first day of public trading, putting the company’s valuation at €45.9bn ($53.8bn) – a third larger than the €33.5bn ($39.2bn) reference price former parent company Vivendi placed on the firm.

The appetite for UMG shares – JP Morgan describes UMG as a “must-own asset” and “undervalued” – continues a run of positive reactions for investment into key multinational music businesses.

In the live sector, Live Nation shares are currently trading at $86.98 (€74.22), not far from an all-time high of $93.44 in June, putting the company’s value at $19.56bn (€16.69bn). CTS Eventim shares, meanwhile, were trading at €61.66 ($72.31) each, valuing the Germany headquartered firm at €5.75bn ($6.74bn). Both listed companies have seen their share price weather the pandemic as investors bet on solid future returns.

“The long term deals with their artists and with streaming services give investors an easy-to-understand asset they can invest in”

In comparison to UMG, previously-floated Warner Music Group shares were $44.03 (€37.54) each, valuing the company at $22.6bn (€19.27bn).

According to music business economist Chris Carey, CEO Media Insight Consulting, the enthusiasm around UMG’s offering also comes down to the simplicity of the business model of record labels and publishing.

“Investors can put a value on predictable income,” he says. “The long term deals with their artists and with streaming services give investors an easy-to-understand asset they can invest in.”

As it sought to take advantage of the recorded music industry’s revival of fortunes due to increasing streaming, Vivendi distributed 60% of shares in UMG to its own shareholders, leaving it with 10%. A Tencent consortium owns 20%, Pershing Square Holdings Ltd owns 10%, and French businessman Vincent Bolloré’s Bolloré Entities owns 18%. The company was floated on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange.

Insiders say the rise in valuation was expected, as many felt Universal Music Group was undervalued.

While the majority of Vivendi’s business is in major brands in publishing, magazines, TV and film, and gaming, it’s maintaining an interest in the live sector through its ticketing company See Tickets, and promoter and booking agency Olympia Production.

UMG owns merchandising brand Bravado, and runs livestream events through VenewLive, a co-venture with UMG, Big Hit Entertainment and YG Entertainment. It says it ran hundreds of livestream events during the pandemic and plans to expand the brand further in the future.

Universal’s record labels include Capitol Music Group, Interscope Geffen A&M, Motown Records, Def Jam Recordings, EMI Records and Polydor. Its global publishing catalogue contains close to 4million titles, by artists such as ABBA, Adele, The Beach Boys, Justin Bieber, Dua Lipa, Bob Dylan and U2.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ IndexIQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Endeavor closes first day on Nasdaq up 5%

Endeavor Group Holdings, the parent company of international booking agency WME, is finally a listed company after shares began trading on New York’s Nasdaq stock market yesterday (29 April).

Endeavor’s or stock market launch, or ‘initial public offering’ (IPO), sees nearly 25 million shares of the company’s class-A stock offered to the market at US$24 per share, and is expected to close on Monday 3 May.

At the close of market yesterday, Endeavor (EDR) shares were priced at $25.20 – up $1.20 on the IPO price, but down from a daily high of $28.47 – with a trade volume of nearly 16m shares for the day.

Endeavor expects to raise around $1.8bn from the share sale, which also includes a private placement of 74.5m shares being sold to an investment group that includes the likes of Silver Lake Partners, Tencent, Dragoneer Investment Group, MSD Capital and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company.

Endeavor plans to use $835.7m of the proceeds to buy the remainder of UFC

Silver Lake, which also owns shares in Oak View Group and MSG Entertainment and a majority stake in TEG, is an existing Endeavor investor, while Tencent has partnered with WME on joint ventures in China. Dragoneer, meanwhile, recently bought into one-to-watch videogaming platform Roblox.

Endeavor says it plans to use $835.7m to buy the remainder of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), in which it acquired a majority stake in 2016, with other new funding put towards future joint ventures, investments and acquisitions.

The Nasdaq listing is Endeavor’s second attempt to take the company public, following an aborted flotation in 2019 amid unfavourable market conditions. Yesterday’s successful IPO came despite a 24% drop in revenues, to $3.5bn, in 2020 owing to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to WME and UFC, Endeavor’s portfolio includes sports agency IMG, comedy agency Dixon Talent and the Miss Universe pageant.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Liberty Media launches $500m+ acquisition vehicle

Liberty Media, the US media, communications and entertainment giant which owns just over a third of Live Nation, is on the hunt for a new addition to its corporate portfolio.

The firm, which also owns Formula 1, satellite radio company SiriusXM and the Atlanta Braves baseball team, among other interests, has launched Liberty Media Acquisition Corporation (LMAC), a so-called special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) with which Liberty intends to search for a “target in the media, digital media, music, entertainment, communications, telecommunications and technology industries”.

The SPAC – a type of shell company which allows for a launch on the stock market, in LMAC’s case New York’s Nasdaq, without going through the traditional initial public offering (IPO) process – launched on Friday (22 January) and is initially trading under the Nasdaq stock symbol LMACU.

LPAC is targeting a business in the media, music, entertainment, communications, telecommunications and technology industries”

Shares in LMACU were initially priced at US$10 each, with 50 million units up for grabs, giving LMAC an IPO price of $500m. The SPAC opened for trading at 32% above that, at $13.20 per share.

As of 25 January, the LMACU units – each of which comprise a share of series-A common stock, along with a fifth of a warrant which may be redeemed for another share of series-A stock, at $11.50 per share – were worth $13.

LMAC is led by Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei (pictured) and other members of Liberty’s management team, with Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs underwriting the IPO as joint bookrunners.

On 19 January, Live Nation’s share price reached an all-time high of $76.54, despite the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Roblox valued at $30bn ahead of direct listing

Online videogaming platform Roblox, which recently held its first in-world concert, has raised US$520 million in a new funding round which values the company at $30 billion.

The series-H round sees investment companies Altimeter Capital and Dragoneer Investment Group buy into Roblox at a price of $45 per share. The California-based company announced its intention to go public in November, and said yesterday (6 December) it will proceed with a novel Spotify-style direct listing on the stock market in the near future.

Other investors participating in the funding round are the Investment Group of Santa Barbara and, more interestingly, Warner Music Group, whose artist Ava Max participated in a Roblox album launch event in October.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Altimeter, Dragoneer and the other new investors,” comments David Baszucki, CEO and co-founder of Roblox. “We look forward to working with all of them as we continue our mission to build a human co-experience platform that enables shared experience, from play to work and learning, among billions of users.”

“Roblox has built a unique and imaginative virtual experience with a growing, loyal community”

Brad Gerstner, CEO of Altimeter, says: “While once viewed as a gaming platform, Roblox has emerged as a definitive global community connecting millions of people through communication, entertainment and commerce. And, as the world moves toward a hybrid future – where online and offline community and learning co-exist – we are proud to back a values-driven business that takes seriously its obligation to build an inclusive, creative and positive community.”

“Roblox has built a unique and imaginative virtual experience with a growing, loyal community, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to support the company at this stage of its development,” adds Marc Stad, founder and managing partner of Dragoneer. “We look forward to partnering with the Roblox team as they continue to execute on a compelling growth strategy and capitalise on the substantial opportunities ahead.”

Speaking to IQ shortly after Lil Nas X played Roblox’s first virtual show, the company’s head of music, Jon Vlassopulos, predicted a future where fans will no longer need to “pick real world or virtual [concerts] once lockdowns are over – they can have both.” Read the full, in-depth interview, which also touches on lessons learned from the Lil Nas X show, as well as the future of music and entertainment more broadly, here.

Roblox: “The concert market is going to get a lot bigger”


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Roblox files for $1bn stock market launch

The company behind tween-friendly social gaming platform, Roblox, is filing for a $1 billion initial public offering (IPO) after its popularity soared during the pandemic.

According to the company’s prospectus, the platform now has 31.1 million daily users who have spent an average of 2.6 hours per day in the game this year.

The platform, which launched in 2004, hosts a collection of more than 50 million user-created video games (sometimes compared to YouTube, but for games rather than videos).

The company makes money when these games offer in-app purchases, and it gets a cut of sales of the in-app currency Robux.

The platform stepped up its interest in music in August 2019 with the appointment of a global head of music, Jon Vlassopulos, a former director of business development at BMG and founder of Tinder-style swiping music discovery app Fab.fm.

Earlier this year, Roblox created a virtual concert venue, hosting an in-game live stream of the Lady Gaga-curated benefit concert One World: Together at Home.

The platform now has 31.1 million daily users who have spent an average of 2.6 hours per day in the game this year

Roblox has also joined social virtual-reality platform Sansar and video game developer Psyonix in partnering with Canadian indie label Monstercat, which also has its own licensing subscription service to allow game streamers to use its music on YouTube and Twitch.

The partnership gives Roblox developers access to a new library of music content to use when making games for the platform, which is comprised of millions of games built by professional developers and the Roblox user community.

Roblox’s involvement in music hit its peak this month, however, when the platform delivered its first in-game concert with Lil Nas X.

The double Grammy award-winning rapper behind worldwide smash ‘Old Town Road’ delivered a free-to-access concert experience which garnered 35 million visits, rivalling Travis Scott’s record-breaking Fortnite concert.

The show, which took place in partnership with Nas’s label, Columbia Records, featured a set of stages inspired by Lil Nas X’s songs and videos and aired three times across 14 and 15 November.

Roblox also recently hosted an album release party for singer Ava Max which was attended by 1.2m players.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

WMG announces $100m social justice fund, IPO price

Following Black Out Tuesday yesterday, Warner Music Group (WMG) has announced a US$100 million fund to support charitable causes “related to the music industry, social justice and campaigns against violence and racism”.

The fund – jointly financed by WMG and the Blavatnik Family Foundation, the charitable foundation run by WMG vice-chairman Sir Leonard Blavatnik, whose Access Industries is the group’s majority owner – will support individuals and “organisations strengthening education, and promoting equality, opportunity, diversity and inclusion” in the music industry, according to WMG.

Along with the other two major labels, Universal Music and Sony Music, and all major live music industry companies, Warner Music was supporter of #TheShowMustBePaused initiative, which saw the music business come to a halt for on 2 June in solidarity with those protesting for racial justice.

Steve Cooper, CEO of Warner Music Group, says: “This fund will support the extraordinary, dedicated organisations that are on the front lines of the fight against racism and injustice, and that help those in need across the music industry.

“This fund will support the extraordinary, dedicated organisations that are on the front lines of the fight against racism and injustice”

“Our advisory panel, which will draw from a diverse cross-section of people from our team and the wider community, will help us be very thoughtful and accountable in how we make an impact. We’re determined to contribute, on a sustained long-term basis, to the effort to bring about real change.”

Today (3 June) also sees WMG’s return to the stock market after nine years, with a previously announced flotation (IPO) on New York’s Nasdaq set to raise nearly $2 billion from the sale of 77m shares for $25 apiece. Blavatnik purchased WMG for $3.3bn in 2011.

In addition to its labels and publishing arm, WMG has multiple live music interests, including concert discovery platform Songkick, Finnish promoter Warner Music Live and management company Umbrella Artists Productions, which it owns with German promoter FKP Scorpio.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Eventbrite IPO investor lawsuit dismissed

Eventbrite has beaten a class-action lawsuit that accused it of misleading investors at the time of its September 2018 flotation.

As previously reported, the suit – filed on behalf of claimants who purchased Eventbrite stock in the company’s initial public offering (IPO) at US$23 a share – alleges the ticketing company deceived potential buyers in its IPO registration statement by declaring that the acquisition of Ticketfly “had a positive impact on net revenue growth” in the third quarter of 2017, when in fact the migration was progressing more slowly than stated, delaying integration and negatively affecting growth.

San Francisco-based Eventbrite denied the allegations, its lawyers calling the case without merit and saying the complaint contains no “facts suggesting that Eventbrite made any false or misleading statements of material fact”.

On Tuesday (28 April), California judge Edward Davila ruled in favour of Eventbrite, according to Law360, granting the company’s bid to dismiss the suit in its entirety, while giving the investors a chance to amend their complaint by 24 June to make it more specific.

Judge Edward Davila ruled in favour of Eventbrite, granting the company’s bid to dismiss the suit in its entirety

“Plaintiffs’ vague allegations that the Ticketfly acquisition was ‘delayed’, ‘costly’ and that the integration missed ‘key features’ are insufficient to show that defendants ‘affirmatively’ created an impression of a state of affairs that differs in a material way from reality”, said Davila, adding: “In fact, a closer inspection of Eventbrite’s SEC filings appears to belie plaintiffs’ claims that the company projected that the Ticketfly integration was going ‘smoothly’”.

The suit was filed following a plunge in Eventbrite’s share price, from a high of over $32 to less than $16 in June 2019.

In common with other live entertainment companies, Eventbrite shares have plummeted further as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with stocks trading at just shy of $10 at press time, up from a low of $5.86 on 3 April.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.