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Eventbrite secures $225m in financing as it reports major Q1 losses

Eventbrite has secured $225m in new financing as it seeks to adapt to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

The San Francisco-based ticketing platform, which announced a net loss of $146.5m during Q1 on Monday, said the agreement with Francisco Partners will help fund the execution of the company’s long-term growth strategy, strengthen its liquidity position and provide greater flexibility to manage through a range of recovery scenarios and the return to live events.

The financing consists of an initial $125m term loan this month with the ability to draw a second term loan of an additional $100m between January and September 2021.

Eventbrite said in a statement that the financing will offer “flexibility” by tailoring its capital needs to the changing environment, while also reinvesting in its self-service platform.

The company also said it will also issue 2,599,174 shares of Class A common stock to Francisco Partners, a leading global private equity firm that specialises in investments in technology and technology-enabled businesses.

Julia Hartz, Eventbrite chief executive and co-founder, said: “The world has changed amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic, and the live experience industry must adapt in response to the new normal. This moment in time is marked by the resilience and ingenuity of the event creators and ticket buyers we serve. Our sole focus is supporting our professional customers, many of whom are small businesses.

“The flexible financing from Francisco Partners will help us fund our growth strategy and emerge from this crisis as a market leader. Together, we will move through this turbulent time to bring people together for live experiences once again.”

The live events blackout due to COVID-19 has severely impacted the entire industry, including Eventbrite, which reported a 39 per cent fall in net revenue to $49.1m in the first quarter of 2020. That was down from $81.3m in the same period in 2019.

The ticketing firm’s reported $119.6m loss in adjusted EBITDA in the three months to March 31 included $113.7m in charges and reserve increases largely related to the impact of COVID-19. The number represents a significant fall from the year prior after reporting profits of $4.1m in Q1 of 2019.

Ticket refunds and chargebacks totalled $150m from event creators since the start of March, while Eventbrite funded $3m worth over the same timeframe.

Despite the heavy losses in Q1, Francisco Partners said its decision to partner with Eventbrite reflects its belief in its platform and potential.

Peter Christodoulo, partner at the private equity group, said: “The founders and team at Eventbrite have built one of the most technologically advanced digital ticketing and experiences platforms in the world.

“We are thrilled to partner with them as they reaccelerate their growth strategy and further their commitment to event creators as a leading provider in the sector.”

Eventbrite’s share price rose to its highest value since early March following Monday’s announcements. It now stands at $10.53, after falling from a 52-week high of $22.90 to a 52-week low of $5.71.

Last year, Eventbrite helped creators manage over 300 million free and paid tickets to 4.7 million events and earlier this month reported accelerated growth in online experiences amid the COVID-19 shutdown of live events, with a more than 2,000 per cent year-over-year increase in April 2020.