Despite a highly public data security breach at subsidiary Ticketfly earlier this year, Eventbrite is reportedly planning to go forward with an Initial Public Offering later this year, according to several sources. The event planning and ticketing company powers ticketing for millions of events in over 180 countries and has rung up more than $10 billion in ticket sales since its founding 12 years ago, according to Tech Crunch. The IPO will be underwritten by Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase & Co, according to the Wall Street Journal.
There has long been an expectation that the company would be going public, according to the Tech Crunch article. It has raised roughly $330 million in capital over its lifetime, and acquired several companies along the way. Ticketfly was purchased for $200 million from Pandora in 2017, a steep discount from the $335 million that the streaming company reportedly paid for the primary ticketing platform in 2015. Eventbrite also acquired international ticketing platforms Ticketea (Spain) and Ticketscript (Netherlands) in recent years.
For some, the lack of an IPO after such a stretch begged the question of whether or not the company was holding back for unknown reasons.
Beyond speculation, the potential for going public took a serious hit earlier this year with the revelation that TicketFly was the victim of a serious data breach. The saga began on May 31 with a cryptic message posted to the company’s homepage indicating that owners had lost control of the property. Soon, all systems were pulled offline, including the websites and ticketing ability for a large number of venues and promoters who relied on the service. In all, an estimated 27 million users saw their data exposed by the hack, which reportedly followed a ransom attempt by the hacker who was able to access the company’s systems which they ignored.
It wasn’t until more than a week later that the company’s systems were restored.
Eventbrite’s website was never a part of the hack, but the question of how much damage the company absorbed due to its subsidiary suffering such a major public breach hung in the air in the wake of the issue.
To date, neither Julia Hartz (who took over the company from her husband due to an illlness) nor head of music Andrew Dreskin have publicly addressed the crisis or made any real attempt to explain what happened or what the company is doing to protect itself going forward. As a result, a number of clients have quietly left Ticketfly, including Largo in Los Angeles which signed with See Tickets shortly after the “cyber incident.” Rival firm eTix also pounced on the breach and attempted to lure a number of clients away from Ticketfly, arguing the outage was a breach of contract for Ticketfly clients. Several clients told Billboard that Ticketfly officials have offered cash settlements to keep clients on the platform.
But it would appear that the damage was of a scale that didn’t frighten the company leadership away from its planned IPO, which is expected to take place in the latter half of 2018.