Industry News

Songkick attempts to sell itself to Live Nation amid litigation – report

Live Nation turned down an offer of sale by Songkick amid its ticketing lawsuit against Ticketmaster, according to a report by the Amplify entertainment news website. 

An investment banker that Songkick hired presented the sales pitch to an executive from Live Nation, Amplify reports.

The two firms have been involved in litigation since Songkick filed a suit in 2015 accusing Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster of anticompetitive acts. Papers filed said that artists who had used the ticketing platform in the past had seen their Ticketmaster featured pages abruptly removed.

Amplify says that a filing from earlier this week reveals an email exchange from June 11 2017 between John Salter, a partner at the Raine Group, an investment bank that helped advise the WME acquisition of IMG in 2013, and Live Nation’s chief strategy officer Jordan Zachary, pitching a meeting with Songkick chief executive Matt Jones.

“Hey Jordan,” the letter from Salter reads, according to Amplify, “I wanted to follow up on our conversation and let you know Matt and the team will be on the West Coast this week for meetings,” adding “if there is interest and we are in a range that makes sense for both parties, Matt and team are happy to come by the offices. Let me know if you want to connect tomorrow or Monday.”

An hour later, Zachary replied: “we discussed and no interest on our side.”

While it seems like an odd move for Songkick to attempt to sell itself to the firm it has filed a lawsuit against, Amplify alleges that it has also pitched itself for sale to private equity firm Providence, Amazon, Deezer and StubHub.

According to Amplify, Songkick chief operating officer Adam Schiffer sent an email to members of his staff 10 days after the offer to Live Nation, warning: “By the end of next week, we’re expected to run out of cash.”

He then goes on to detail what he has been offered so far — $2-$3m from Vivendi, $2m from Seatgeek, an earn out deal with no cash upfront from Deezer and a verbal offer in the “low seven digits” from Amazon.

“The last viable option is WMG,” Schiffer explained, noting Songkick had been offered $5m for the company’s discovery platform, while investors would continue to control the ticketing service, which would be mothballed weeks later.

“While this bid will still fall short of our goal of $15-$20m,” he wrote, “it is likely to be our best option.”

Songkick’s music discovery application was sold to Warner Music Group in a $5m (£3.7m/€4.2) deal, with the firm retaining its ticketing business and continuing with its case against Ticketmaster.