Building on its international expansion plans, Live Nation Entertainment this week announced it had acquired Spanish ticketing company ServiCaixa from Spain’s third-largest financial institution “la Caixa.” Financial terms were not disclosed, and the deal must still receive approval from antitrust regulators in Spain.
ServiCaixa is Spain’s leading ticketing company, and its acquisition by Live Nation is a similar move to one the company made late last year when Live Nation bought French ticketing company Ticketnet. In both instances, Live Nation was looking to gain a significant share of an overseas market where the company sees huge growth potential, while expanding its Ticketmaster brand, products and services.
“Expanding internationally in attractive markets where we can replicate our integrated model and grow profitably represents one of our key growth initiatives,” Michael Rapino, President and CEO of Live Nation, said in a statement. “This acquisition and our recent expansion in France put us on track in executing our plan and further strengthen Ticketmaster as the world’s leading ticketing company.”
Rapino and other company executives have identified several international markets, including Australia, Asia and countries in Europe as being ripe for expansion.
In recent years, spurred on in part by the global popularity of soccer teams Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, the Spanish ticketing market has grown significantly, and has even led to the creation of Spanish secondary ticket sites, such as SuperBoleteria.
ServiCaixa’s legal name is Serviticket SA, and the company not only sells live event tickets, but also tickets to the cinema. Besides its Web site and box offices, ServiCaixa also utilizes more than 8,100 ATMs and kiosks to distribute tickets through the network of machines owned by “la Caixa,” and the acquisition deal preserves that arrangement. According to Live Nation, ServiCaixa “processed over 43 million tickets, sold 9.7 million advance ticket sales, and had 1.8 million Club ServiCaixa members” in 2010.
Though the acquisition was likely weeks or months in the making, the timing of the announcement could help draw some attention away from rival Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), which this week inked a game-changing ticketing partnership with Outbox Technology. AEG, which will begin ticketing the more than 100 venues it owns or operates, will start competing against Live Nation for future ticketing contracts by the hundreds of venues, theaters and stadiums throughout North America and the world.