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See Tickets acquires Switzerland’s Starticket

See Tickets has acquired Starticket, a major player in Switzerland, bolstering the UK-based ticket seller’s presence on the continent and expanding its footprint to a ninth European market.

Zurich-based Starticket – formerly owned by TX Group, Switzerland’s largest media company – sells more than five million tickets annually, and is the country’s second-biggest concert ticketing platform, behind CTS Eventim’s Ticketcorner, according to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2019. The acquisition by See comes nearly three years after a merger between Starticket and Ticketcorner was blocked by Swiss competition regulators.

As a result of the merger, Vivendi-owned See sells nearly 30m tickets a year for 10,000 clients, including Glastonbury Festival, the Château de Versailles, L’Olympia in Paris, Garorock and Tomorrowland (pictured). Its presence in the US means it is active in ten markets worldwide.

Samuel Hügli, head of technology and ventures at TX Group (formerly Tamedia) says: “With this acquisition by See Tickets, Starticket will become part of a leading international ticketing service provider that uses cutting-edge technology and has a huge network with numerous partnerships.

“We have long admired Starticket as a stand-out independent ticketing company in Switzerland”

“This will strengthen Starticket in international competition and allow See Tickets to benefit from Starticket’s many years of experience in the Swiss market.”

“I am delighted to welcome Starticket and its experienced management team into our group,” adds See Tickets’ global CEO, Rob Wilmshurst. “We have long admired Starticket as a stand-out independent ticketing company in Switzerland, and I know that together we will be able to further develop the quality and range of services to our clients and customers in the country.”

According to PwC, Switzerland is Europe’s eighth-biggest live music market, worth US$370 million in ticket sales in 2019, and the 13th-biggest globally. Read IQ’s latest Switzerland market report here:

Switzerland market report: positive signs

 


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Switzerland’s Starticket appoints new CEO

Leading Swiss ticketing platform Starticket has appointed former Swiss Railways exec Christof Zogg as CEO.

Zogg replaces outgoing CEO Stefan Riedel, who has left the company, effective 1 January 2019. He was previously director of digital business at Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), which he joined in 2014 from Microsoft Switzerland.

According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2018, Starticket is the second-largest entertainment ticket seller in Switzerland, “snapping at [the] heels” of market leader Ticketcorner, owned by CTS Eventim. Ticketcorner/Eventim last year attempted unsuccessfully to acquire Starticket, with the merger blocked by Switzerland’s Federal Competition Commission.

“Christof Zogg … is well qualified to further strengthen Starticket’s role as a service provider”

Starticket sells millions of tickets annually through Starticket.ch and its network of 1,500 booking offices and call centres.

“Christof Zogg successfully advanced digital sales at SBB and with his experience in the field of digital business, and he is well qualified to further strengthen Starticket’s role as a service provider,” says Samuel Hügli, head of technology and ventures at Starticket owner Tamedia.

“On behalf of Tamedia’s management board I wish him a good start and expect that, together with our customers and partners, we will carry on the success story of Starticket.”

 


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Swiss regulator blocks ticketing merger

The Swiss Federal Competition Commission has refused to sanction the agreed merger of Switzerland’s two largest ticket agencies, Starticket and Ticketcorner.

Ticketcorner – jointly owned by CTS Eventim and Zurich-based conglomerate Ringier – and Starticket – a division of mass-media giant Tamedia – announced their intention to merge last November, five months after the registration of Ticketmaster Switzerland GmbH by Live Nation Luxembourg, which sparked rumours of a local launch of Ticketmaster.

The Federal Competition Commission (Wettbewerbskommission, Weko) began investigating the merger in February, saying it had found evidence of “the creation or strengthening of a dominant market position” in the Swiss ticketing market.

Announcing its decision yesterday, Weko said the new company would have constituted a monopoly, gaining an “increasingly dominant position” for ticket sales in Switzerland.

“The proposed merger would allow the two companies to control the Swiss market … and eliminate effective competition”

“The proposed merger would allow the two companies to control the Swiss market for third-party sales of tickets and eliminate effective competition,” reads a statement. “In addition, the companies’ links with two large media groups, Ringier and Tamedia, would have strengthened the position of the new company in the market (conglomerate effects).”

A statement from Tamedia says the company “regrets the decision” and reserves the right to take legal action.

“The rejection of the merger by the Competition Commission fails to recognise the dynamic development taking place in the ticketing market and weakens Swiss suppliers in international competition,” it says.

 


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