Partnerships / Acquisitions

Vista Equity Looking To Unload Vivid Seats For $1.5B

Vivid Seats, an online secondary ticket marketplace, is looking for a buyer and hoping to sell for a price of about $1.5 billion, according to TechCrunch.

Founded in 2001, Chicago-based Vivid is the third-largest secondary ticket seller in the U.S., offering tickets to concerts, theaters and sports events. It was acquired in 2016 by private equity firm Vista Equity Partners for $850 million.

Although the company has refused to comment on the sale rumors, insiders say that Vista is working with Morgan Stanley to sell Vivid. Bloomberg reported earlier this month that Vista was considering a sale “after receiving inbound interest.”

Reports claim that Amazon and Priceline have already looked at Vivid and passed, and eBay-owned StubHub is also not interested. One issue is that Vivid obtains a big portion of its traffic from misleading affiliate sites, meaning that customers are sometimes sent to a destination that’s not associated with the team or artist. This is considered a controversial practice within the industry.

If Vivid doesn’t find a suitable buyer, it’s possible that Vista will sell Vivid to another private equity firm. While one source mentioned Carlyle Group, that seems unlikely because they own PrimeSport, a competitor in the market. Another option would be to simply hold off until Vista’s portfolio grows in value.

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