ING Buys Into Ticket Market

Within a year of reorganising its ticket operations, Stage Entertainment has sold 60 percent of the business to ING Group, the Dutch investment and financial services company.

The deal is believed to be worth £250 million and comes a year after Stage Entertainment consolidated all of its ticket ops under one roof and put Bart van Schriek in charge.

The various divisions, which included Ticket Online Germany, Poland and Austria; TopTicketLine Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Russia; Belgian ticketing organization and the U.K.’s See Tickets, had combined revenues of about euro 320 million but didn’t have the business profile of a company like CTS Eventim.

ING, which is reckoned to be the ninth-largest company in the world, will continue Stage Entertainment’s consolidation by putting them all under the See Tickets International (STI) banner. Van Schriek remains chief exec.

The new company will be the second-biggest ticket supplier in mainland Europe and will likely have revenues of about euro 400 million in 2009, although market leader CTS will turn over about 30 percent more.

Van Schriek said being able to draw on the resources of Parcom Capital, ING’s investment wing, will enable STI to expand internationally.

Stage Entertainment spokesman Maarten Van Nispen said the company sold 60 percent of its ticket business in order to focus on its productions – which include “Holiday On Ice” – and its venues.

It’s not clear if Stage intends to hang onto the 40 percent of STI it still holds or sell it to ING or any other party.