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Eventbrite appoints new CFO following Q2 results

Ticketing and event technology platform Eventbrite has appointed Lanny Baker as chief financial officer, following mixed second quarter financial results.

Baker joins Eventbrite from Yelp, succeeding Randy Befumo in the role. Befumo, who has served as the company’s chief financial officer since 2016, will move into the role of chief strategy officer.

Eventbrite chief executive officer Julia Hartz says she “cannot think of a better partner […] to help lead the company in its next phase of growth” than Baker.

The announcement follows the release of Eventbrite’s Q2 financial report, which showed total revenue for the quarter at $80.8 million, a 19.6% increase compared to Q2 2018. Paid ticket sales were also up from the same period last year, growing 15% to $26.5m.

In a letter to shareholders, the company attributed revenue rise to ticket sales and the introduction of its add-ons feature, which allows event organisers to promote premium and ancillary offerings to customers.

However, the results showed an operating loss of $14.5m for the quarter, up from the $13.2m from Q2 2018.

“I cannot think of a better partner than Lanny [Baker] to help lead the company in its next phase of growth”

Adjusted EBITDA (earning before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) was down from the previous year, from $1.2m to $900,000.

In Wednesday’s earnings call, chief strategy officer Befumo stated the company expected EBITDA for the next quarter to be down further, “in the range of minus $9m to minus $5m”. The bulk of this loss, explained Befumo, would be related to the impact of the failed Roxodus festival.

Eventbrite pledged to refund all ticketholders out of its own pocket, following the last minute cancellation of Roxodus festival in Canada. MF Live, the company behind the festival, has since filed for bankruptcy.

The upcoming quarter will also be affected by “migration impact as we sunset the Ticketfly platform”. However, the company states it is “encouraged by the progress” it has made with the Ticketfly integration, with fewer than 100 clients left to migrate. The intention is to have all tickets sold on the Eventbrite platform by October 1.

In the earnings call, Befumo told investors that there was “no easy quantification” of how many customers would remain with Eventbrite after migrating from Ticketfly.

The company put its modest growth in Q1 down to issues relating to the integration of Ticketfly, which it acquired in 2017.

 


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Roxodus promoter MF Live files for bankruptcy

MF Live, the company behind cancelled Canadian rock festival Roxodus, has filed for bankruptcy.

The company, whose “sole purpose was to organise the Roxodus Music Fest”, owes over CA$18 million (US$13.8m) to around 200 creditors, including $5m ($3.8m) to ticketing provider Eventbrite and $11.1m ($8.5m) to contractors Taurus Site Services. MF Live’s assets equate to $154,000 ($118,000) in cash.

According to liquidator Grant Thornton Limited, “the event did not generate sufficient ticket sales to cover the expected costs, leaving MF Live Inc. insolvent.”

“We also understand that earlier wet weather posed certain challenges in preparing the site for the event and prevented MF Live Inc. from being able to host a safe event,” reads the document.

“The event did not generate sufficient ticket sales to cover the expected costs, leaving MF Live insolvent”

A statement on the festival’s website blames “rainy weather” for the cancellation of the festival, which was to feature performances from Nickelback, Blondie, Aerosmith and Kid Rock.

Last week, Eventbrite announced it would provide all ticketholders with a refund, while continuing “to aggressively pursue the return of funds from the festival’s creators.”

At the same time, MF Live co-founder Mike Dunphy denied all responsibility for issuing refunds. Dunphy also refuted rumours that he had “stolen monies”.

Dunphy and fellow MF Live founder Fab Loranger parted ways ten days before the festival’s cancellation and are no longer on speaking terms, according to an interview with CTV News.

The first meeting of the creditors is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. on 30 July at the Grant Thornton offices in Toronto.

 


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Eventbrite pledges refunds amid Roxodus controversy

Eventbrite, the ticketing partner for Canadian rock festival Roxodus, is refunding all those who bought tickets to the event following its cancellation last week.

Roxodus organisers MF Live cancelled the festival, which was scheduled to take place from 11 to 14 July at Edenvale Airport in Ontario, due to “tremendous rainy weather” which “impacted our ability to produce the festival”.

Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nickelback, Billy Idol and Blondie were among the acts featuring on the Roxodus bill.

“After multiple attempts to communicate and secure funds back from the abruptly-cancelled Roxodus Music Fest in Ontario, Canada, the organisers have provided no indication that they will refund ticket holders,” reads a statement issued by Eventbrite on Sunday (7 July).

“We believe attendees deserve to get their money back now, so we have set up an Eventbrite-funded Fan Relief Program [sic] to make all Roxodus ticket holders whole while we continue to aggressively pursue the return of funds from the festival’s creators.”

Eventbrite’s statement follows an announcement from MF Live co-founder Mike Dunphy, in which the Roxodus organiser denied all responsibility for refunds.

“My role at MF Live was that of talent buyer/operations. I did not sign contracts, issue cheques or control funds received from ticket sales,” wrote Dunphy.

“After multiple attempts to communicate and secure funds back from the abruptly-cancelled Roxodus Music Fest, the organisers have provided no indication that they will refund ticket holders”

“Eventbrite is the ticketing partner with whom Roxodus sold tickets. They alone have all purchaser information. Since I am not in control of financial items regarding Roxodus, I cannot communicate plans for refunds.”

Dunphy, who stated he had no involvement in decisions relating to the cancellation of the festival, also denied that he had “stolen monies as widely rumoured on social media.”

Reports state that local police had been investigating a former employee of MF Live prior to Roxodus’ cancellation. It is unclear whether the investigation has any relation to the festival.

Fellow MF Live co-founder, Fab Loranger, told reporters at Global News: “Our specific role in the entire project was to provide the funding. We invested millions of dollars. We relied on Mr Dunphy, his representations and his advice, to ensure everything was properly taken care of. It obviously wasn’t. We lost it all.”

Dunphy rejected Loranger’s statement, which he termed “incorrect”.

Ticketholders will receive refunds from Eventbrite within seven business days from 7 July. Tickets for Roxodus started at CA$129 (US$99), with camping packages costing between $219 (US$168) and $1,600 (US$1,225).

 


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