European cashless payment firms Weezevent and PlayPass have joined forces to form a wider pan-European offering for when events can reopen following the year-long COVID-19 shutdown.

Weezevent, the France-based events management and ticketing platform, has today announced its takeover of its Belgian competitor, PlayPass, with the combined offering to represent an annual turnover of over £400m.

The newly merged group will now be represented by six offices with more than 100 employees and over 1,200 cashless event clients around the world including major music festivals like Lollapalooza (in Paris, Berlin and Santiago) and Rock Werchter, as well as prominent sports brands like Formula 1 and French Ligue 1 football club Paris St. Germain.

Weezevent chief executive Pierre-Henri Deballon, said of PlayPass’ founders: “David (De Wever), Dale (Hofkens) and their teams share the same passion and vision as Weezevent for delivering a world class cashless experience, and after eight years of healthy competition, the time has come to form a new team that is stronger, more ambitious and more confident than ever.”

Despite merging business operations, discussions are still underway as to what the new combined entity will be named. PlayPass will continue to run under the same name in the UK for the foreseeable future.

De Wever added: “Our two companies are highly complementary and the consolidation of our expertise and experience now makes it possible to form the leader in cashless event solutions. The return to a normal post-Covid situation will accelerate the adoption of cashless everywhere. This is about being ready for the market while continuing to innovate.”

Cashless payments at events have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering a way for organisers to manage onsite sales and improve attendee experience. The use of NFC wristbands or cards has been widespread across Europe, spearheaded largely by Weezevent and PlayPass.

The merger will see Steve Jenner of PlayPass and Olly Goddard of Weezevent jointly head up the group’s UK division. The deal will also lead to the expansion of the group’s offices in Paris, Madrid, Antwerp, Lausanne and Montreal.

The in-house development team will also be expanded with further investment to continue the development of its proprietary technology.

Goddard said: “2020 promised a much wider adoption of cashless technology at events before our industry was put into lockdown. Though this natural progression was interrupted, we are looking forward to a productive 2021 and beyond, and our merger with PlayPass will put us in an even stronger position to deliver what consumers want and events need.”

Jenner added: “As a competitor we have always held the utmost respect for Weezevent, in particular the strength of their technology, team and commitment to improving the visitor experience.

“To join forces with them at this time is a really exciting opportunity for us, our clients and the UK’s live events industry, placing us in a much stronger position to not only help the sector get back on its feet faster, but to emerge stronger than ever.”

Image: Weezevent