CTS Eventim Acquires Majority Stake In Newly Formed Swiss Live Entertainment Company

The owners and operators of Gadget abc Entertainment Group AG
– The owners and operators of Gadget abc Entertainment Group AG
From left: Christof Huber, Cyrill Stadler, Eric Kramer, Oliver Rosa and Stefan Wyss

Swiss promoters Gadget and wepromote have joined forces, and CTS Eventim has acquired a large chunk of the business. The German live entertainment giant also brings abc Production into the mix.
The newly formed group is known as Gadget abc Entertainment Group AG going forward. 
Gadget Entertainment had been working under the wepromote banner since 2015, alongside companies Incognito Productions AG, wildpony AG, OpenAir St. Gallen AG, SummerDays Festival AG, Seaside Festival AG, and wepromote Live AG.
Some of the highlights that were produced and promoted under the wepromote construct include the launch of Seaside Festival in Spiez, Unique Moments at the National Museum Zurich, and sold-out Rammstein stadium concerts in 2019 and 2020.
The companies have now officially merged, and sold a 60% stake to CTS Eventim.
abc Productions, the company of legendary Swiss promoter André Béchir, which has been a part of CTS Eventim’s promoter network since 2013, is part of the new business construct.  
Béchir will step down as CEO of abc Productions, but remain on board the Gadget abc Entertainment Group AG in a consulting role.
He remains an important asset to the new partnership thanks to his extensive network and well-established connections with agents.
Said Béchir: “Merging the existing companies is a logical and natural next step that will shape the live business in Switzerland for many years to come. I look forward to cooperating with Gadget abc Entertainment Group AG as a consultant and will actively support them with my extensive knowledge and experience.”
Gadget was founded in 1994, originally as an artist management company, which has since been instrumental in the careers of may Swiss artists, including Stress, Pegasus and Dabu Fantastic. 
Gadget is also supporting current Swiss top acts, including Hecht, in the areas of label and publishing work.
The new Gadget abc Entertainment Group AG promises to cover “all facets of musical experiences: from live entertainment (concerts/bookings) to festivals, to artist management (including labels/publishing) and brand partnerships (marketing, consulting and activation),” according to the announcement.
Gadget abc Entertainment Group AG is owner-operated, its management consisting of five partners centres around Christof Huber, festival director in St. Gallen and Arbon as well as wepromote’s chairman of the board, Cyrill Stadler, long-standing CFO and board member of wepromote group, and the current Gadget partners Eric Kramer, Oliver Rosa, and Stefan Wyss. 
Kramer and Rosa will represent the company as managing partners, Wyss will run the live business, while Christof Huber will manage festival-related activities. Cyrill Stadler will take on the role of Financial Director.
According to Kramer, the new enterprise will enable the joining companies “to leverage our reliability and consistency as an important shaper within the Swiss music business. We will be better able to respond to market conditions and take our business to a successful future.”
Added Rosa: “Thanks to our diversification, we are ideally situated for the rapid changes within the market environment and are able to use our
many synergies in an optimal way.”
Other wepromote companies integrated into the new enterprise include the Wildpony AG, which is headed by Philippe Cornu, Bernese cultural manager and director of the Seaside Festival in partnership with Pascal Rötheli, as well as Huber’s Incognito Productions AG, based in St. Gallen. 
Reto Lazzarotto, long-standing partner of the Gadget Entertainment AG, will leave the company at his own request, while retaining a close and friendly relationship with Gadget as a cooperating partner. 
In addition, Martin Zahner, long-standing president of the board of Openair St. Gallen, will resign from all of his functions within the wepromote group.
Christof Huber commented: “We have been working together towards this step for a long time. With CTS EVENTIM coming on board and integrating abc Production’s business, we can create the necessary momentum for our continued development.”
Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, CEO of CTS EVENTIM, commented: “With the acquisition of the majority stake in Gadget and wepromote and the subsequent integration of abc Production, we are able to streamline and expand our business activities in the Swiss live entertainment market. 
“Gadget abc Entertainment Group AG constitutes a new powerful event and entertainment network. The expansion of Eventim Live, our international pomoter network, is coming along nicely.”
The news follows Pollstar‘s recent focus on the Swiss live entertainment market, in which the country’s professionals confirmed that the market was slowly but surely approaching saturation point in terms of booking volume and ticket sales.
Earlier this month, André Béchir told Pollstar that the promotion business in Switzerland was mostly a case of dog-eat-dog. “Even though we have a Swiss Music Promoters Association, there’s no solidarity. There are no arrangements of any kind between promoters, like making sure there aren’t too many hard rock shows in one week. We are all focused on ourselves,” he explained.
The new Gadget abc Entertainment Group AG will at least align the interests of some promoters, and enable them to compete in a world were global tour deals are the order of the day, and, as Schulenberg points out, “not only can [Eventim Live] offer artists powerful ticketing options, but also enhanced international touring possibilities and custom solutions – all from a single source.”
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