Media giant Vivendi plots sale of See Tickets and festivals arms

Business

Vivendi, the global media conglomerate, is exploring a sale of its See Tickets division and the organiser of the annual Love Supreme music festival in east Sussex.

Sky News has learnt that Paris-headquartered Vivendi, which owns the French broadcaster Canal Plus and the marketing services giant Havas, is working with advisers on a potential disposal of parts of its Vivendi Village subsidiary.

City sources said on Monday evening that Vivendi was working with advisers on a process that is expected to kick off imminently.

Insiders, cautioned, however, that no final decisions had been taken and that sales of the two businesses were not inevitable.

A formal auction is, however, certain to draw interest from a range of financial and industry bidders.

See Tickets, which operates in eight European markets including the UK, sold 39 million tickets last year to sporting events, museums, concerts, festivals and other live events.

That figure compared with the 25 million it sold in 2019, the last year before the COVID-19 pandemic brought live entertainment to a global standstill.

The ticketing company also trades in the US.

Vivendi Village’s festivals arm incorporates nearly a dozen live shows, including Love Supreme and Kite, a music and ideas festival which this year featured Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, the comedian and broadcaster David Baddiel and The Pretenders.

Sources said that Vivendi had concluded that neither the ticketing or the festivals businesses were of sufficient scale to compete with industry giants such as LiveNation, Ticketmaster and AEG.

It was unclear whether any of those companies would want to acquire the Vivendi assets, or if they would be allowed to from an anti-trust perspective.

The two divisions are also sub-scale compared to Vivendi’s other operations, the sources added.

It is understood that the remainder of Vivendi Village’s operations – which include its iconic L’Olympia venue in Paris and a cinema chain in Africa – are not part of the strategic review process.

Vivendi Village employs more than 650 people, according to the company’s website.

In its most recent financial results, Vivendi, which also owns a stake in Universal Music Group, said the Villages unit recorded revenues of €238m last year.

In the first half of this financial year, it reported sales of €81m.

“The business is mainly driven by ticketing (See Tickets), which represents 70% of overall revenues and is experiencing strong growth, due in particular to the expansion of its customer base to new market segments beyond its traditional activities in the field of music,” the company said.

Vivendi ranks among France’s most prominent companies, and is among the sponsors of the Rugby World Cup taking place across the country until next month.

It has a market capitalization of approximately €8.7bn.

A Vivendi spokesperson declined to comment on Monday evening.

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