All Quiet On The Eventim Front

CTS Eventim’s 2008 ticket revenues are up by more than one-third and pre-tax profits are up by nearly as much, but the Munich-based ticketing company is getting more media attention over the proposed Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger.

Four days after the announcement of last year’s record-breaking results, Eventim chief Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, chief financial officer Volker Bischoff and the legal and business affairs department were stonewalling questions on how a deal between two U.S. companies would affect the 10-year agreement Eventim already has with LN.

Within six years, that deal was expected to see Schulenberg’s company generate up to 60 million extra tickets and additional annual revenues of more than 100 million per year ($125.7 million). The deal would have LN running its own ticket company on Eventim’s platform.

It’s unclear how LN could complete the TM merger without breaking its agreement with Eventim, a thought that might be troubling to German investors.

At the beginning of February, grumblings of the American merger led to Eventim’s Frankfurt market price tumbling by 20 percent to euro 21 ($26.38).

When Live Nation and Ticketmaster confirmed their intention to join forces, the price fell a further euro 2.14 to euro 18.6, and then rallied a little to climb back to the euro 20 mark.

DZ Bank, one of Germany’s largest banks, sent a note to investors saying the merger would “significantly shift the competitive relation in the world market,” and that it will likely have a negative effect on CTS.

Despite a Feb. 12 interim report announcing that Eventim’s annual group revenues for 2008 are up 5.2 percent to euro 404.4 million and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization are up 7.3 percent to euro 58.7 million, Eventim’s share price has struggled to hold at euro 20.

Short of Live Nation or Eventim making a statement to clarify the situation, the German company’s stock looks likely to remain in the doldrums. Barely euro 5,000 worth of shares changed hands Feb. 17.

Eventim’s consolidated financial statements for 2008 are due at the end of March, but the preliminary figures show the increased ticket revenues are largely due to high-margin sales via the Internet.

The volume of online sales grew 35.2 percent to 9.6 million tickets. CTS Group Web sites, especially the and portals, attracted 232 million visitors.

Eventim’s live entertainment business – a half-share in the Medusa Group promoters headed by Dirk Becker, Folkert Koopmans, Marek Lieberberg, Peter Pracht, Peter Rieger and Dieter Semmelmann – maintained its strong market position without matching the record figures achieved in 2007.

Revenue in 2008 was down 4.4 percent to euro 288 million, while pre-tax profit (EBIT) dropped 23.4 percent to euro 15.7 million.

The euro 7.7 million drop could be viewed as a euro 5.7 million drop, as euro 2 million of it was advances paid out for shows in 2009.

The Medusa promoters have big tours on the horizon, including Bruce Springsteen, Depeche Mode, Madonna, Pink, AC/DC and Coldplay.

The Eventim board says it will continue to focus on consistent growth of its Internet ticketing and international expansion.
The annual report will be available online at in both German and English, starting March 31.