Vivendi, parent company of Universal Music Group, has acquired UK-based ticketing company See Tickets. Its €96 million ($135 million) winning bid, announced Monday, beat out the likes of ticketing giant CTS Eventim and promoter Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG).
See Tickets provides ticketing for such festivals as Glastonbury, Reading, Leeds, Freeze and V Festival. It also tickets a many large venues, such as the O2 Arena in London. The company is reported to have about a 20% share in the UK ticket market, ranking it second behind Ticketmaster.
See Tickets has clients in theater and sports as well, but the direct access to hundreds of thousands of music fans is clearly the prize here. Ticketing is an area of the music business that can help the more traditional music companies - record labels and publishers - build a stronger multiple-rights infrastructure and create new sales channels for existing products. Universal Music Group has become much more diversified in recent years - it owns the Bravado merchandise company as well as artist management businesses such as Twenty First Republic and Trinifold.
Vivendi acquired See Tickets from Dutch private equity firm Parcom Capital. The holding company that included UK-based See Tickets also contained Ticket Online in France and Austria, Sherpa.be in Belgium, Entradas.com in Spain and See Tickets in the Netherlands.
Vivendi won out over some big, familiar names. By the time of the second round of bidding, CTS Eventim, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and Ambassador Theatre Group, were reported to be in the running. CTS is the largest ticketing company in Europe. AEG is the world's second-largest concert promoter behind Live Nation.
The acquisition comes less than a year after Vivendi purchased 65% of French online ticketing company Digitick for €29 million. CTS Eventim acquired See Tickets Germany and Ticket Online Group in July 2010.