Broadway Businesses Are Buying Out Their Competitors. Here is the Overview of the Recent Rounds of Takeovers and Acquisitions from John Gore Organization, TodayTix, Shubert Organization, Entertainment Benefits Group, Providence Equity, Nederlander Organization, Cirque du Soleil and TPG Capital
Broadway Business Mergers and Acquisitions
Who bought who? Who owns who? Who has reservations at Dorsia and who ordered the sea urchin ceviche?
John Gore Organization (JGO) Acquisitions
The John Gore Organization (also known as Key Brand Entertainment) is a leading developer, producer, and distributor of live theatre in North America and is focused on building platforms dedicated to all types of theatrical business including stage show licensing, production, show acquisition, show promotion and marketing.
The John Gore Organization does not believe in organic growth of the organization and has been on feeding frenzy of business acquisition for the last ten years. Its well known to be a "value" investor, which means that only current sales are included into any potential offer. All potential future growth is excluded from the valuation and only organizations that are underestimated in value are picked up.
The acquisitions for the John Gore Organization to date include:
- Broadway Brands was acquired in December 2021 for $1.2 Million in cash and stock.
The deal came with Broadway Briefing and Broadway News both of which have become staples of the industry and the source of information that many Broadway professionals turn to when they start their day.
- Your Broadway Genius was acquired from Ken Davenport at Davenport Theatrical on June 14, 2018 for $100,000 in cash. The service was folded into the existing "Group Sales Box Office" service that had previously been acquired in 2012
- The Broadway Channel is a media company that produces and distributes television programming for NYC hotels and was acquired in 2015 for $3 Million in cash and stock
- Group Sales Box Office (GSBO) Broadway's largest group-sales ticket agency was acquired in 2012 for $5 Million in cash and stock
- Broadwaybox.com was acquired in 2012 for $2 Million in cash from the founder/owners Dan and Odeda Geisler who had founded the company back in 2001
- Broadway.com was acquired on December 16, 2010 for $2 Million
- Broadway Across America was acquired in August 2008 From Live Nation for $2 Million in cash
- Tokyo Broadcasting System Television (TBS) was acquired by the John Gore Organization. TBS is Japan's major television network and is a leading provider of media-related services; with Lawson Entermedia, Inc., the most prominent ticketing company in Japan. TBS also produces many Broadway shows in Japan.
TodayTix is a global online ticket promoter that is a privately held organization and is backed by over $400 Million of private financing. The organization intends to IPO in the near future.
The acquisitions for TodayTix to date include:
- Goldstar was acquired on January 5, 2022 for $2.8 Million in cash. Goldstar was a live events directory and ticketing platform run by Broadway Impresario CEO Jim McCarthy
- Broadway Roulette was acquired in February 2021 for $50,000. Broadway Roulette is a gamified ticketing site that added novelty to the Broadway ticket industry but lacked any real cohesion
- Show-Score was acquired in September 2020 from founders Deeksha Gaur and Tom Melcher for $150,000 in cash. The service is a Broadway review aggregator that attempts to drive traffic to its site and cross-sell to other product lines
- Encore Tickets is a London-based ticket seller with strong roots in the West End Theatre. It was acquired on February 4th, 2020 for $2 Million
- Secret Cinema is a London-based entertainment company that specializes in immersive film and television events. The organization was founded in 2007 by Fabien Riggall, and it provides interactive and immersive performances in purpose-built sets for movie lovers that allows them to experience movies in a whole new way.
This acquisition allows Secret Cinema to fuel its international growth, and expand to the United States in 2023, with a U.S.-national tour planned for May 2023, as well as a permanent location planned in Los Angeles in 2024. Fabien Riggall and his partners received a reported payment of $42 Million in cash and stock for 100% ownership control of Secret Cinema.
The Shubert Organization Acquisitions
The acquisitions for the Shubert Organization to date include:
- Showtickets.com was acquired from Entertainment Benefits Group (EBG) on July 13, 2021 for $500,000 in cash . The website was intended to expand ticketing capabilities and add more value to the Broadway customer experience.
Showtickets.com had served entertainment and attraction partners in New York, Las Vegas and Orlando, but had been poorly managed by EBG and was out-to-pasture at the time of the sale. It had been acquired by EBG in 2009 from an unknown seller and for an unknown price, but unconfirmed sources cite that it was bought from a domain broker for $10,000
- Plum Benefits was acquired by The Shubert Organization in September 2012 from Shara Mendelson and SVM Marketing for $5 Million in cash and private stock. After The Shubert Organization realized they did not know how to run this organization properly, it would then be sold to EBG in 2014
Entertainment Benefits Group Acquisitions
The acquisitions for the Entertainment Benefits Group (EBG) to date include:
- Beneplace was acquired from its owners and founders on October 8, 2019 for $3.7 Million in cash and stock
- Working Advantage was acquired on March 2, 2016 for $6 Million in cash and stock, adding it to its roster of clients for corporate benefit offerings.
Working Advantage was originally founded in 1995 as the "Corporate Movie Club", re-branded with its current name in 2001 and expanded from its original mission to provide a range of entertainment and shopping discounts.
Headed by CEO David Nerrow, the buyout allowed Nerrow to create another competing product named "Adventix"
- Plum Benefits was acquired from the Shubert Organization in April 2014 for $2 Million in cash and stock
Providence Equity Acquisitions
Providence Equity Inc. are private equity specialists, focused on investing in growth-oriented media, communications, education and technology companies throughout North America and Europe.
The acquisitions for Providence Equity to date include:
- Ambassador Theatre Group - Providence Equity acquired ATG for $500 million in 2013. Ambassador Theatre Group owns two theatres on Broadway, the Hudson Theatre and the Lyric Theatre
- Nederlander-Owned theaters San Francisco’s Golden Gate Theatre and Orpheum Theatre and Detroit’s Fisher Theatre were sold to Providence Equity in March 2021
The Nederlander Organization Acquisitions
- The Nederlander Organization paid $22 Million to acquire TixTrack in August 2022. The Nederlander Organization, one of the largest operators of live theaters and other venues in the United States, acquired TixTrack, Inc., which provides ticketing software to the entertainment industry.
TixTrack’s co-founders, Steven Sunshine and Michael Arya, will continue to lead the company, along with Chief Technology Officer Mike Ripberger. Sean Free, currently the VP of Sales & Ticketing at Nederlander, joins the TixTrack executive team as Chief Operating Officer to make sure that Nederlander's interests are met.
Nederlander claims that it will continue working with Ticketmaster for tickets in all its 9 Broadway theatres, but it is clear that they will replace Ticketmaster with TixTrack as soon as possible to avoid payment of the huge Ticketmaster charges. Ticketmaster is expected to counter by dropping their rates to historic lows, otherwise they will be out of the Broadway business, which they can ill-afford.
Ticketmaster Sells Ticketron in 2017
After sitting on the defunct brand Ticketron since 1991, Ticketmaster finally sold the long-dead brand Ticketron to a private ticket brokerage for $11 Million in cash in 2017.
For those old enough to remember, in 1990, the Ticketron brand was selling tickets for over 750 event spaces in the US and they had a 40% market share, which was just behind its competitor Ticketmaster, who had 50% share of the US market.
On Broadway, Ticketron had 65% of the market and Ticketmaster had nothing. In 1984 Ticketron made headlines by famously selling over 250 tickets a minute to the Jackson 5 tour across the US.
In late 1990 the majority of Ticketron's assets and business were bought by The Carlyle Group, who then turned around and sold it in 1991 to Ticketmaster, which was Ticketron's arch rival. Many compared that business sale to the infamous 1983 Vidal Sassoon business sale/swindle that was orchestrated by Proctor and Gamble to get control of Vidal Sassoon's assets, but by using an intermediary company.
In 2018 Live Nation and Ticketmaster Entertainment merged to become Live Nation Entertainment.
AudienceView Buys TheaterMania and TheaterMania.com in 2017
AudienceView purchased TheaterMania (AKA TheatreMania) and TheaterMania.com in 2017. TheaterMania is a Broadway and theatre media and technology company that went from early stage start-up in 1998 to its ultimate sale in February 2017. The organization sold for $16M in cash and stock.
AudienceView is a software company serving the live entertainment and athletics ticketed industries. The TheaterMania organization brought over a staff of 200+ across the US, UK and Canada. The sale also came with the TheaterMania assets, the U.K.-based media company WhatsOnStage, and the ticket service OvationTix, which is a SaaS business providing ticketing, fundraising and CRM tools to the live performing arts industry across the United States. TheaterMania is now part of the AudienceView family of live entertainment solutions.
Ticket Reseller Acquisitions:
- Viagogo acquired Stubhub in November 2019 for a purchase price of $4.05 billion in cash, Despite the British government launching an antitrust investigation into the acquisition that forced Viagogo and StubHub to keep operating separately, the acquisition proceeded ahead.
- Redball Acquisition Group acquires Seatgeek in May 2022. Both organizations are a marketplace for ticket resellers, with Viagogo being focused on the European market and Seatgeek on the US market. The sale was made for a reported $1.35 Billion
- Vivid Seats completes acquisition of Betcha Sports in December 2021 for $25 million in Vivid Seats equity
Cirque du Soleil and TPG Capital Broadway Acquisitions
- Cirque du Soleil acquired Blue Man Group in July 2017. The Montreal-based company paid $25 Million to Blue Man's shareholders. Blue Man Group was created in 1991 by three long-time friends from New York City: Chris Wink, Phil Stanton and Matt Goldman who created a ground-breaking stage performance centered on a bald and blue character they called Blue Man.
- TPG Capital acquired Cirque du Soleil In 2015. Cirque's founder, Guy Laliberté, sold the company to a group of investors, led by private equity firm TPG Capital, for $1.5 billion.