Nine Entertainment has sold its live ticketing, entertainment and sports event arm, Nine Live, to Asia-based private equity firm Affinity Equity Partners for $640m.
Nine Live, which owns Australia's biggest ticketing firm, Ticketek, the Allphones Arena and a significant touring and events arm, will continue to be owned by Nine until July 31 when the sale is due for completion.
Nine says in a statement that the sale provides "scope for enhanced shareholder returns" and gives it the opportunity to invest in opportunities mainly in the free-to-air TV, digital and subscription streaming businesses it intends to focus on. Net proceeds from the transaction are expected to approximate 64 cents per share.
The Live arm unveiled a deal with media company MediaWorks in New Zealand only three days ago. A spokesperson for the company said that the deal will stand as more of a "formal affiliation," echoing the relationship it will continue to foster with its ex-parent.
Nine Live, which will more than likely undergo a re-brand when Affinity takes full ownership on August 1, will honour all contractual relationships that are currently in place, meaning that all upcoming events such as the Ricky Martin tour and the Qantas Wallabies v All Blacks game will still go ahead.
Nine Live CEO, Geoff Jones - who will remain in his position - said: “Today’s announcement marks a significant milestone for Nine Live and highlights the confidence that Affinity Equity Partners has in the strength of our business and the capability and experience of our management team.
"We operate in a dynamic industry sector which has abundant opportunities for further growth and I look forward to working with the team at Affinity Equity Partners to explore these opportunities for expansion both domestically and regionally."
Brett Sutton, Head of Australia & New Zealand at Affinity Equity Partners, revealed in a statement that the private equity fund intends to grow the Nine Live business across the Asia-Pacific region.
He said: “Affinity is excited to invest in Australia’s leading live events and ticketing company. Nine Live is an excellent company with strong management and has the capacity for significant growth.
“Affinity looks forward to partnering with Nine Live to explore opportunities for expansion while maintaining Nine Live’s outstanding track record of customer service.”
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