Vivid Seats is reportedly in talks to go public, a move said to be in “advanced talks” despite recent legal controversies related to the ticket resale marketplace and one of its principal investors. The Chicago-based company is reported to be in negotiations with Horizon Acquisition Corp. for the move, which has not been finalized.
Horizon has begun discussions with investors about raising equity to support a transaction set to reduce Vivid Seats’ debt and value the combined company at about $2.5 billion, one of the people said. Vivid Seats’ private equity backers GTCR and Vista Equity Partners are set to roll their ownership stakes into the new entity… As with any deal that hasn’t been finalized, it’s possible terms change or talks fall apart.
Horizon is a blank-check company run by Todd Boehly, who is a co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Vivid Seats has found itself in the crosshairs of legal troubles as the pandemic has ground on, with a more than $7.5 million refund settlement in a class action pending approval. The company also saw its parent Vista Equity Partners embroiled in controversy after it became known that leader Robert Smith was cooperating with federal authorities in exchange for immunity related to a massive tax fraud scheme. Vista has also drawn attention for a pattern of donations to since-disgraced New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, which raised questions about investigations related to ticket resale companies by his office.
Rather than a traditional public offering, this public move would be accomplished by merging Vivid Seats with the already public holding company started by Boehly. A similar deal is reportedly in the works between a second Boehly company and a EU-based gambling operation.