See Tickets Owner Vivendi Acquires Dutch Ticketing Company Paylogic From LiveStyle

Rob Wilmshurst
– Rob Wilmshurst
CEO of See Tickets

Paylogic, the ticketing and technology company headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands, was acquired by See Tickets, a wholly owned part of Vivendi, for an undisclosed sum.

Paylogic was founded in 2005, and acquired by LiveStyle, the rebranded SFX Entertainment, in 2013. Paylogic sells more than five million tickets in over ten countries, according to its own estimates. It has offices in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, and has helped its many clients, which include Tomorrowland, ID&T, ADE and Awakenings festival, develop a digital ticketing environment.

The Paylogic deal is part of a larger transaction between Vivendi and LiveStyle, which gives See Tickets the ticketing rights for the US festivals and events promoted by LiveStyle and its subsidiaries.

See Tickets has businesses in the UK, France, U.S., Spain, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, and clients in more than 30 countries. The company, which is headed by Rob Wilmshurst, expects to sell more than 20 million tickets per year across the genres music, sports and cultural events going forward.

This includes tickets sold by See Tickets directly to customers. If one adds all tickets sold through Vivendi’s other ticketing operations, such as Digitick, that number is probably 50 to 60 million.

The company sells 10 to 11 million tickets in the UK alone, where its biggest client is Glastonbury festival. International clients include the Eiffel Tower, Vieilles Charrues festival, L’Olympique de Marseille and the Queen Mary liner in the U.S.

All Paylogic staff, headed by CEO Jan Willem van der Meer, are going to remain on board as part of the deal. It’s “very much business as usual” for the company, Wilmshurst told Pollstar. “We bought the business because we like it, not because we want to re-engineer it today.”

The acquisition “says something about our intent,” he continued. “The market is an attractive place to be right now and there’s more and more competition so it’s only through size and scale that you can cut through the noise. This transaction gives us access to new geographies, a pool of skilled staff, new technological options, which will lead to increased sales and significant cost saving potential over time.”

He added, that Vivendi’s backing “gives us that rock-solid financial security that is very important for promoters in particular, who know their money’s going to be safe with us. We are not a high-debt start-up.”

Pollstar also wanted to know what needed to change in the current ticketing landscape. 

“If I had to put my finger on one thing, it would be pricing transparency,” Wilmshurst replied. “I think in some segments the fees are too high. And, as you know, we’re no fans of secondary sales, that’s something that would be really nice if it changed.”

Randy Phillips
– Randy Phillips
CEO of LiveStyle

Pollstar also reached out to LiveStyle CEO Randy Phillips to find out why the company sold Paylogic, and let ticketing for LiveStyled events be handled by the new owner. 

“My management team, led by CFO Chuck Ciongoli, and I came to the conclusion that there were enough economically viable ticketing platforms available to us that could serve not only our festival or event businesses and also serve our burgeoning small-cap venue strategy in the North American market,” he explained.

“The irony is that the platform and technology SFX historically used, Flavorus, was sold to Vivendi when they purchased it during the SFX Chapter 11 reorganization. Obviously, I was not the CEO during the bankruptcy or I would have lobbied to keep Flavorus, which could have been consolidated with Paylogic. Owning Paylogic as a standalone ticketing solution for our European events businesses in the Netherlands and Germany was not considered ‘core’ when we would be able to deploy the capital from the sale into building out our festival and promotion businesses. In fact, Paylogic will continue to serve as LiveStyle’s ticketing company with Vivendi as the new owners and give Paylogic a degree of independence, which should help the company grow.  I call this deal a Win/Win for LiveStyle, Vivendi, and Paylogic.”
Speaking about Vivendi and See Tickets, Phillips said: “I have great respect for Vincent Bollore’s vision for Vivendi and are looking forward to working with both Rob Wilmshurst, CEO of See Tickets, and Boris Patronoff, CEO of See Tickets North America. See Tickets would have been our first choice as a ticketing solution in North America, even if we had not sold them our European Paylogic division, due to the fact that Flavorus was the historically preferred solution for our large scale events like Electric Zoo and Spring Awakening. Working with Jan Willem at Paylogic will be seamless for our ID&T division in the Netherlands.”
When asked about his evaluation of the current state of the ticketing market, Phillips replied: “There has been massive consolidation in the ticketing business as evidenced by Ticketmaster’s purchase of Frontgate, Eventbrite’s purchase of Ticket Fly, and, now, Vivendi’s purchase of Paylogic as it grows its See Tickets operating division.  While technology and the internet have broken down the barriers to entry in the ticketing business, you still need an incredible array of content to offer the consumer. The one word I would use to describe the ticketing market is ‘competitive’.”