Finns Move In On Ticketing

Finnish ticket company Lippupiste Oy has moved into the Baltic market, although its method of entry is something of a surprise.

When German ticket giant CTS Eventim bought a 70 percent stake in Lippupiste in September 2009, it was widely expected the Bremen-based company would move into The Baltics by acquiring Piletilevi.

“All we can say right now is that the acquisition in Finland does indeed give us an excellent launching pad for future expansion into the Baltics,” Rainer Appel, Eventim’s vice president for legal and business affairs, told Pollstar at the time.

Piletilevi appeared to be the obvious target because it has a longstanding partnership with Lippupiste. The Estonian company is owned by Baltic Ticket Holding, which also owns Bilesuserviss in Latvia and moved into Lithuania at the end of 2008.

It’s not unheard of for Eventim to set up its own operation in a territory, as it has done in Sweden and intended to do in Norway and Denmark, although the last two look to have been stalled by the breakdown of its relationship with Live Nation.

Lippupiste chief exec Ari Palhamo is expected to set up in all three Baltic capitals, although not buying Piletilevi – and the recent arrival of Serge Grimaux’s Ticketpro – will mean it faces strong competition in a market of about 8 million people.

Palhamo is entitled to believe his company can make its presence felt. Since selling three-quarters of the company to Eventim, which has an option to buy the rest of it in 2012, Lippupiste has pushed past the Ticketmaster-owned Lippupalvelu to become the market leader in Finland.