CTS Gets In On The Act

Four days before announcing Q3 profits up by more than 50 percent, CTS Eventim moved into the Swiss promoting business by buying a majority shareholding in Thomas Durr’s Act Entertainment.

It’s the first time Eventim has bought outside of the German music market, although there were summer rumors that company chief Klaus-Peter Schulenberg was in discussion with the now-bankrupt Vienna-based Rock & More.

It’s no surprise the ticketing giant has chosen to bring Act within its Medusa Group promoting division, as Durr is already partnering Folkert Koopman’s Hamburg-based FKP Scorpio Konzertproduktionen – also part-owned by CTS – in producing Switzerland’s 2-year-old Greenfields Festival at Interlaken.

It also runs the Palazzo Colombino gourmet evenings in Zürich and Basel, an extension of the series that Koopmans started in Hamburg and expanded to other German cities.

Schulenberg said the reason for picking Act and Switzerland as expansion targets is because the Swiss market is important to the company and many of the tours promoted by the Medusa promoters cover all German-speaking countries.

“We acquired 100 percent of the shares in TicTec AG, one of the leading ticketing companies in Switzerland, in July of 2006.

“It seemed a logical step to establish the infrastructure to promote our own events in Switzerland, too, and to carry over the value chain model proven in Germany and Austria: setting up a tour, promoting the events locally, and selling the tickets via the Internet,” he explained.

As for Act itself, Schuleberg said that, within only a few years, it’s become one of the leading promoters in Switzerland.

“Act Entertainment is a dynamic and innovative company, and we see a lot of additional potential in it, especially as part of the Eventim Group,” he added.

Schulenberg’s plans to make a challenge in the Swiss market will bring him toe to toe with DEAG, his German promoting rival that has a share in Andre Bechir’s Zurich-based Good News, which has spent decades as the country’s No. 1 promoter.

It may also get a frosty reception from a Swiss live music business that was far from happy when Koopmans crossed the border to start Greenfields.

Since 2004, Basel-based Act Entertainment has been involved in numerous large pop and rock music events, including concerts by Herbert Grönemeyer,Anastacia, Rammstein, Mark Knopfler, Joe Cocker, Kylie Minogue, and R.E.M.

It’s now become the German ticketing giant’s first live music business acquisition since it bought approximately half-shares in Argo Concerts and Dirk Becker Entertainment in 2001.

But in the last two years, Eventim has continued to extend its promoting activities by establishing new companies in Munich (PGM) and Vienna (LS Concerts), the latter being a cooperation between Medusa promoters Marek Lieberberg and Dirk Semmell.

Regarding the Q3 figures, which were unveiled November 14th, Schulenberg told Pollstar, “It seems obvious that 2006 will once again be a record-breaking year for Eventim. “By the end of September, we had already topped all relevant figures achieved in a full business year in 2005, and we are still expecting a very strong fourth quarter.

“It is also remarkable that our organic growth is still strong in both ticketing and live entertainment – and that even without any of the World Cup soccer revenues and profits, we expect the 2006 figures to still be clearly up over 2005.”

What Schulenberg described as “organic growth” is in fact a 52.5 percent increase in online ticket sales to 3.1 million (compared to the first nine months of 2005), a 41 percent increase in group revenues to euro 258.0 million, and an EBIT that’s up 51.8 percent to euro 34 million.

What’s likely to impress the money market is that earnings per share increased accordingly to euro 0.71 from euro 0.43, while cash flow showed a 38 percent improvement from euro 19.2 million to euro 26.5 million.

All of this has been achieved without a football being kicked, and Schulenberg said he believes the final figures for the soccer tournament – taken in isolation – will show revenues of around euro 25 million, with Eventim taking an EBIT margin of about 20 percent.

In the current business year, Eventim’s ticketing systems are expected to sell 45 million tickets for around 85,000 events.

– John Gammon