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Major moves: consolidation sweeps the ticketing sector

The past 12 months have seen big-money deals by global firms who have been expanding their reach through buying up existing companies.

Eventim’s major expansion into the €800 million French live music market will see it establish a joint venture with the retailer by the end of 2019. Under the proposed new structure, Eventim would acquire 48% of France Billet, with an option to increase its holding to a majority stake over the next four years. It is folding its Eventim French business into the partnership, and the established brands – which in addition to Francebillet.com include Fnacspectacles.com and Billetreduc.com – will remain in operation.

This move will be a blow for Paris-headquartered multimedia conglomeration Vivendi, which owns the local company Digitick and was the third-largest competitor behind France Billet and Ticketmaster.

Leapfrogging its rivals, Eventim has secured the top position in the ticketing space. However, it currently does not have a promoter presence in France, unlike Live Nation or Vivendi, the latter of which owns the venues L’Olympia (1,996-cap.) and Theâtre de L’Œuvre (326-cap.) in Paris, as well as Olympia Production, the operator of a number of French festivals including Les Déferlantes (12,000-cap.) and Garorock (45,000-cap.).

In 2017-18, Eventim bought three significant promoters in Italy – Vertigo, Friends and Partners, and D’Alessandro e Galli (Di and Gi) – solidifying its brand TicketOne as the dominant ticketer in the country after Ticketmaster opened operations there in 2017.

On the other side of the world, Live Nation Entertainment’s (LNE) $480m decision to buy a 51% stake in Ocesa Entertainment, the largest promoter in Latin America, and owner of Ticketmaster Mexico, is noteworthy.

Promoting about 3,100 shows a year, Ocesa reportedly sold 3.8m tickets in 2018. Ticketmaster Mexico is comfortably the country’s biggest ticket seller, with around 37m tickets sold each year.

While LNE and Ocesa have had a long partnership, this move significantly enhances the global entertainment company’s footprint

While LNE and Ocesa have had a long partnership through touring, festivals and the Ticketmaster brand, this move significantly enhances the global entertainment company’s footprint.

It demonstrates LNE’s growing confidence in the Latin American market and will likely lead to an increasing number of tours by international talent to the continent, and potentially further acquisitions of promoters, ticketing companies or venues.

What impact it will have on Ticketmaster in the US, where the second language is Spanish, remains to be seen. The Spanish- language market in the US is arguably currently underserved, and this could be seen as an internal growth opportunity for the global behemoth.

But more importantly, this could be part of a wider move by LNE into Latin America, where the firm historically has no major presence. Last year it acquired one of Argentina’s top promoters, DF Entertainment, while earlier in 2018, it took a stake in one of the largest music festivals in the world, Rock in Rio (100,000-cap), recently increasing its holding to 60%, which could be a sign that Ticketmaster is preparing to make a move into Brazil. Does this indicate a strategy of expansion across the region? We’ll have to wait and see.

LNE-owned Ticketmaster also bought Australia and New Zealand’s most significant independent ticketing company, Moshtix, in February, further expanding its presence in a market where it competes fiercely with TEG’s Ticketek.

Although it’s not likely to shift the balance of power, Ticketmaster’s move will add another indie brand to its suite of ticketing platforms.

Meanwhile, TEG grew its Asian reach by buying the Philippines-based ticketing company TicketWorld. This adds to its existing interests in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Macau. As well as major international tours by the likes of Guns N’ Roses and Katy Perry, TicketWorld has a strong presence in the local theatre market, and provides ticket services to Philippines’ venues including Solaire Resort and Casino, Resorts World Manila, BGC Arts Center and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

What we can say is that the last 12 months have seen no sign of the trend for consolidation slowing down – and it may just be hotting up even further

“We see great opportunities in many Asian markets and our strategy puts us on course to becoming a truly pan-Asian promoter,” said TEG CEO Geoff Jones at the time.

While not strictly new acquisitions, DEAG continued its policy of wholly owning companies by completing the purchase of the MyTicket platform, which going forward will be powered by the Secutix SaaS solution, while Eventim completed its takeover of German online movie ticketing platform Kinoheld and Scandinavian ticketing solution Venuepoint.

So what’s next? In the fast-moving world of ticketing, it’s hard to say.

India’s BookMyShow sells some 20m tickets a month, mainly in the cinema sector, but is looking to grow further into live entertainment. In 2018, COO of non-films at BookMyShow Albert Almeida told the Economic Times the firm wants to increase its revenues from non-cinema events from 30% to 50% by 2020.

It is one of the ticketing partners at the newly opened Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai and is addressing a lack of infrastructure in its home country by building its touring venues and producing its own shows. At a recent fundraising round, the company was valued at $1 billion, and there is still huge potential in the country of 1.3bn people. But maybe it will look to acquire in new markets, or further consolidate its position in the Middle East.

Another interesting area is the growing trend of Chinese companies taking an interest in Western music companies (for example, Tencent acquired a 10% stake in Universal Music, with an option to take another 10% in a year). Could we see a Chinese firm take an interest in a ticketing company outside of its homeland?

What we can say is that the last 12 months have seen no sign of the trend for consolidation slowing down – and it may just be hotting up even further.

For more insight into the state of the global ticketing industry, read IQ’s International Ticketing Yearbook 2019.


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CTS acquires majority stake in Friends and Partners

CTS Eventim is to acquire a 60% stake in Ferdinando Salzano’s Friends and Partners, further strengthening its position in the Italian market.

The German live entertainment giant has had a presence in Italy since 2007, when it bought a share of ticketing market leader TicketOne, and in September acquired Italian promoter Vertigo.

Friends and Partners, formed in 2001 as F&P Group, represents more than 40 Italian artists, organising tours by stars including Il Volo, Claudio Baglioni, Ligabue, Nek and Laura Pausini, formerly in partnership with Warner Music. The company also produces concert films and music TV formats for all major Italian TV stations.

By joining CTS Eventim, Friends and Partners will be able to take advantage of Eventim’s global reach, says CEO Klaus-Peter Schulenberg.

“There are many artists that have long been addressing an international audience and who plan their live performances without paying heed to national borders,” comments Schulenberg. “Our aim is to offer them Europe-wide touring opportunities and efficient ticketing services under the CTS Eventim umbrella. For that reason, we are constantly reviewing options for expanding our portfolio.

“I am looking forward to the various opportunities the partnership with a global player like CTS Eventim will provide us”

“I am delighted that with this transaction we further strengthen our market position in Italy.”

Friends and Partners founder Salzano, who will continue to manage the company from its offices in Milan, adds: “I am looking forward very much to the various opportunities that the partnership with a global player like CTS Eventim will provide us and I thank Klaus-Peter Schulenberg and his team for the confidence they place in us. Our joint aim is to project the Friends & Partners success story into the future.

“At the same time, my colleagues and I will remain true to our mission, which is to offer artists, managers and producers a home that helps them realise their creative ambitions. I also extend my thanks at this point to my companions at Warner Music, who have passionately supported and advised my team and myself for almost a decade. I am certain that our paths will cross on various projects in the future.”

 


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CTS Eventim acquires Italian promoter Vertigo

CTS Eventim is to acquire a majority stake in Milan-based promoter Vertigo, marking its entry into the Italian live entertainment market.

The acquisition of 51% of Vertigo bolsters CTS’s presence in Italy, where the German ticketer/promoter already owns TicketOne, one of Italy’s two main ticketing companies (along with Best Union’s Vivaticket).

Vertigo will continue to be led by co-founders Andrea and Stefano Pieroni – although CTS gains two seats on its management board, and the company will be “fully consolidated” into its Medusa Music Group division.

“Italy is already one of the most important markets for our company, so entering the live entertainment segment there is a logical step in our ongoing internationalisation,” comments CTS Eventim CEO Klaus-Peter Schulenberg. “I am all the more delighted by the fact that, by acquiring the stake in Vertigo, we are also taking on board a highly creative, fast-growing and superbly managed promoter.”

The acquisition, the terms of which are finalised but were not disclosed, means CTS Eventim now promotes shows in eight countries – Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands and Italy – in addition to selling tickets in 25.

“The partnership with CTS Eventim is a milestone for Vertigo and will help us take the next step forwards in our development”

Vertigo was already a partner of TicketOne, which was earlier this year fined €1m after it emerged tickets has been passed directly to the secondary market.

Vertigo CEO Andrea Pieroni says: “The partnership with CTS Eventim is a milestone for Vertigo and will help us take the next step forwards in our development. We want to enlarge our portfolio even further over the next few years and offer a creative and service-centred base to different styles of artists from Italy and abroad.

“The fact that CTS Eventim will be supporting us from now on with its resources and its unique expertise is an enormous boost for our team and our partners.”

Upcoming shows for Vertigo include Alice Cooper, The Darkness (pictured), Caparezza, Marilyn Manson and Him.

 


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