Eventim Quiet Over See Tickets

European ticket giant CTS Eventim says it’s aware of newspaper reports saying the UK’s See Tickets is on the block, but the German company is being understandably guarded about whether it’s a potential purchaser.

Eventim investor relations director Marco Haeckermann told Pollstar he’s aware of “rumours in the market” regarding See Tickets and said he didn’t want to comment on speculation.

The Feb. 27 edition of The Sunday Times reported See Tickets has brought in advisers to find a buyer prepared to stump up something in the region of £100 million ($162.2 million).

See Tickets is the UK’s second-largest ticket seller behind Ticketmaster, and Haeckermann acknowledges there are several reasons why Eventim would be viewed as an interested party.

He admits the breakdown of Eventim’s deal with Live Nation has left the company starting from scratch in the UK. Its earnings and profits are breaking records year-on-year and Haeckermann confirms the company is “committed to its expansion strategy.”

Eventim chief Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, who owns more than half the company, is believed to have previously shown an interest in buying See Tickets.

It was in 2008, when Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Really Useful Group was on the point of selling the ticket company to Joop van den Ende’s Stage Entertainment.

Schulenberg was apparently too late in showing his interest and the deal with the Dutch company was all but inked. The purchase price wasn’t disclosed but, shortly after, Lloyd-Webber reportedly paid himself a £38 million dividend.

Eventim has owned the German division of See Tickets since last summer, when it bought it as a $183.5 million package that included the country’s Ticket Online Group.

Germany’s Federal Cartel Office subsequently launched a retrospective inquiry into the deal to check if it infringed the country’s merger control regulations. Eventim says it’s easy to show that the deal didn’t breach monopoly regulations and is confident of the outcome.

Ten months after buying See Tickets, Stage picked up about £250 million by selling 60 percent of the business to Parcom Capital, a subsidiary of Dutch banker ING Group.

Since then, there have been rumblings behind the scenes at See Tickets, which last year came to the surface when non-executive chairman Nick Blackburn quit because he wasn’t happy with the way his Dutch masters were running the company.

Blackburn has just returned to the ticket-selling business by joining the board of Ingresso Group, a new venture launched with funding from Oakfield Capital Partners.