GTCR has agreed to invest in Vivid Seats, the provider of an online ticket marketplace, with Axios reporting the Chicago-based private equity firm will take a majority stake from existing investor Vista Equity Partners. Vista will reportedly retain a minority ownership position in the fast-growing ecommerce retailer it originally purchased for about $850 million last year. GTCR, meanwhile, will partner with Vivid Seats co-founders Jerry Bednyak and Erik Vassilatos and the company’s management team to retain an ownership stake. Reports earlier this year had indicated Vista was looking to sell the company at an enterprise value of around $1.5 billion.
The company has enjoyed a fruitful 2017, despite competition from established competitors such as Ticketmaster and StubHub. In February, the company signed on as ESPN’s official ticket provider for all digital platforms. In April, publisher Time selected Vivid Seats as the ticketing partner for its Sports Illustrated family of sites including SI.com, Golf.com and Fansided.com. And earlier this month, the company agreed to become the official ticket reseller for the Preakness Stakes, set for its 142nd running this Saturday.
On a broader level, the internet retail space in the US experienced a sharp decline in 2016, with just 16 PE-backed transactions, down from 29 in 2015, per the PitchBook Platform. But the industry has seen a bit of an uptick through the first five-plus months of 2017, with nine completed deals to date.
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