Europe: Swiss Merger, CTS Eventim, AEG

Swiss Regulators Deny Ticketcorner/Starticket Merger

Switzerland’s anti-trust authority The Wettbewerbskommission has prohibited the country’s biggest ticketing companies from merging.

According to Weko’s reasoning, the new company would have a monopolistic position in the market and remove any meaningful competition in the field of ticket distribution. The authorities further stated that they would not have objected if Ticketcorner would have only distributed its own tickets.

However, the company, which is owned by CTS Eventim and media company Ringier, already dominates the market as third-party distributor, controlling more than 60 percent of Swiss ticket sales.

Tamedia, the company that owns Starticket, released a statement saying it regretted Weko’s decision and would now focus on growing Starticket by its own efforts. Tamedia said it reserved the right to appeal the decision.

Online Tickets Drive CTS Eventim Growth

German entertainment giant CTS Eventim’s Q1 financials state a 21.7 percent year-on-year increase in group revenues from euro 163.2 million to euro 207.4 millio. Normalized group EBITDA rose from euro 38.8 million in Q1/2016 to euro 45.7 million, which marks a 17.9 percent increase, while the normalized EBITDA margin was 22 percent. CTS Eventim cites “the ticketing and live entertainment segments” as primary contributors to the growth.

Ticketing revenues increased by 9.2 percent to euro 92.6 million, “and thus remains the key growth driver” for the company, according to the financial statement.

Normalized EBITDA in the ticketing segment rose to euro 36.5 million, a 11.5 percent increase compared with the same period last year, when it stood at euro 32.8 million. The company sold a total of 10.8m tickets online in the first three months of 2017, compared with 9.4 million in Q1/2016.

This marks a 14.6 percent increase in sales. Live Entertainment revenues climbed 46.2 percent to euro 116.3 million. “In addition to positive growth in operations, this revenue growth was also attributable in large measure to the greater number of companies included in consolidation,” CTS Eventim states.

CEO Klaus-Peter Schulenberg said: “Given how business has progressed so far in 2017, we are confident that we will achieve our targets for the year. Compared to fiscal 2016, we expect higher revenues and operating earnings. We also intend to continue implementing our growth strategy successfully. This includes not only organic initiatives, such as boosting our eCommerce business, but also examining prospects for further acquisitions.”

AEG And A.S.O. Revive Cycling In Germany

Sports and entertainment giant AEG will assist the Amaury Sports Organisation, best known for the Tour de France, in building its cycling business in the German market. A.S.O. recently obtained the license to launch a new Deutschland Tour in August 2018, which had been Germany’s most important stage race until it ceased in 2008. The French company also owns Germany’s Eschborn-Frankfurt cycling race.

“As part of the comprehensive partnership between the global sports organizations, AEG will lead the sponsorship sales process for both the Eschborn-Frankfurt cycling classic and the Deutschland Tour, an innovative concept which is designed as a bike festival that bridges the gap between professional and everyday cycling,” the announcement states.

Yann Le Moënner, Managing Director of A.S.O., commented: “Our strategic partnership with AEG underlines how committed we are to the German market. The Grand Départ 2017 in Düsseldorf, the just renewed partnership with ARD on broadcasting the Tour de France, the addition of the Eschborn-Frankfurt classic to the family of A.S.O. races and the new Deutschland Tour are all for themselves significant milestones to support the growth of cycling in Germany.”

According to Private Equity Wire, European law firm and auditors Noerr advised AEG, which also owns the German premier hockey league team Eisbären Berlin, the city’s Mercedes-Benz Arena and Hamburg’s Barclaycard Arena, in setting up the partnership. It’s not the first collaboration between AEG and A.S.O., who are both behind the Amgen Tour of California.