Vivid Seats has reportedly been taken over by GTCR after it announced a “strategic partnership” with the private equity firm.
Business website Axiom said GTCR has bought a majority stake in the Chicago-based ticket marketplace, whose partners include ESPN and Sports Illustrated, from existing investor Vista Equity Partners. Vista partnered with Vivid Seats in January 2016, but earlier this year it was reported to be looking to sell the company for around $1.5bn (£1.2bn/€1.4bn).
In a statement, Vivid Seats said the GTCR investment will enable it to accelerate growth as it delivers the best tools in the industry for buyers and sellers to discover, shop, share, plan, and organise live event experiences. No financial details were confirmed in the statement.
“Here at Vivid Seats, we are passionately focused on our mission to deliver to fans the safest, most affordable, and all-around best ticket purchasing experience in the industry,” said Eric Vassilatos, co-founder of Vivid Seats. “Gaining a new strategic partner in GTCR validates the path we’ve taken with Vista and elevates our potential to achieve our vision of taking Vivid Seats to the next level.”
“The pace of growth for Vivid Seats will continue to evolve in an exciting way with two strategic partners in Vista and GTCR,” said Jerry Bednyak, co-founder of Vivid.
“This strategic partnership with Vista and GTCR will enable us to take big steps forward as the largest independent full-service secondary ticket marketplace, while continuing to innovate with the best service experience in the industry.”
GTCR is a Chicago-based private equity firm focused on investing in growth companies in the financial services and technology, healthcare, technology, media and telecoms and growth business services industries.
GTCR said co-founders Bednyak and Vassilatos and Vista will maintain a significant ownership stake in the company.
“The Vivid Seats team has built a tremendous business that is well-positioned for long-term success,” said GTCR managing director David Donnini. “The impressive growth over the last decade is a testament to their customer service, operating excellence and proprietary technology platform.”
While not confirmed, it was reported that Vista paid $850m for Vivid almost 18 months ago.
“In just over a year, Jerry, Eric and the entire management team at Vivid Seats have extended their industry-leading position through a winning combination of exceptional service and powerful technology,” said Brian Sheth, co-founder and president of Vista. “We are pleased to partner with GTCR to accelerate Vivid Seats’ momentum and see the company scale further to match the demand in the growing secondary ticket marketplace.”