Vivendi exploring sale of ticketing firm See Tickets (report)

Vivendi CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine.

Paris-headquartered multinational media giant Vivendi is talking to advisers about a potential sale of its live-events ticketing and festivals businesses, according to a report at Sky News.

The report published on Tuesday (September 26) said the process to explore a sale “is expected to kick off imminently” but a sale is not inevitable.

The sale would involve two businesses within the subsidiary Vivendi Village: the UK-headquartered See Tickets and Vivendi Village’s festivals division, which operates 11 live events, including the Love Supreme Jazz Festival that takes place every year in East Sussex, England.

Other businesses within Vivendi Village – including the Paris venues L’Olympia and Théâtre de l’Oeuvre, as well as a cinema chain in Africa – are reportedly not part of the sale exploration. Vivendi Village has 688 employees in total.

According to sources cited by Sky News, Paris-headquartered Vivendi feels that its ticketing and festivals businesses are not of sufficient scale to compete effectively with such events and ticketing giants as Live Nation, TicketMaster and AEG.

See Tickets has been a fixture on the UK live events scene in the 1990s, after Nottingham-based record shop Way Ahead Records began selling live event tickets, eventually rebranding itself as See Tickets.

Vivendi acquired See Tickets UK in its entirety in 2011 for approximately €96 million.

Since then, See Tickets has expanded to eight European markets and the US via a series of acquisitions, including Flavorus – which Vivendi bought from Los Angeles-headquartered LiveStyle in 2014 – and Paylogic, LiveStyle’s Netherlands-based ticketing business, in 2018. It acquired Swiss-based Starticket from TX Group in 2020.

According to Vivendi’s latest earnings report, See Tickets represents around 70% of all sales in the Vivendi Village division, and the company is “experiencing strong growth, due in particular to the expansion of its customer base to new market segments beyond its traditional activities in the field of music.”

Vivendi Village’s revenue for H1 2023 came in at €81 million ($85.5 million at current exchange rates), up 10.2% YoY on a constant currency basis, with See Tickets being the primary driver of growth.

As of June 30, 2023, See Tickets sold a total of 19 million tickets year-to-date, compared to 15 million in the same period in 2022.

Vivendi SA is one of the world’s most prominent media conglomerates, controlling Groupe Canal+, a group of film and TV production companies and TV channels, operating primarily in France, as well as in Poland.

Vivendi also owns the France-based multinational advertising company Havas, as well as video platform Dailymotion.

Vivendi was the parent company of Universal Music Group (UMG) until UMG’s listing on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange in 2021. At that time Vivendi distributed a 60% share in the company, retaining a 10% share.

A Tencent-lend consortium had acquired a 20% share in UMG prior to the listing, while Pershing Square Holdings Ltd took a 10% share and French businessman and ex-Vivendi Chairman Vincent Bolloré’s Bolloré Entities owned 18%.

Vivendi reported total revenues of €4.698 billion for H1 2023, up 3.2% YoY on a constant currency basis. The company reported EBITA of €444 million, up 8.3% YoY.Music Business Worldwide

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