Ticketmaster to buy reseller TicketsNow

Tue Jan 15, 2008 12:06pm EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Top box office service Ticketmaster said on Tuesday that it would buy TicketsNow Inc, a Web site that resells tickets to concerts and sports events, in a bid for a stronger foothold in the secondary tickets market.

Ticketmaster, a unit of IAC/InterActiveCorp that will be spun off into an independent company later this year, expects the deal to close by the end of the first quarter.

Ticketmaster said it planned to build a site allowing customers to review and compare ticket pricing in the primary, premium and resale markets.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but a report in The Wall Street Journal said the deal was worth $265 million.

Secondary ticket sales have grown into a recognized business from what was once a gray market controlled by scalpers outside of sports and music venues, allowing companies to reap premiums on events that are in high demand.

Online auction site eBay owns the largest online resale vendor, StubHub, which last year reached a deal to be the official online ticket reseller for Major League Baseball.

Ticketmaster is seeking new revenue streams as top client, concert promoter Live Nation Inc, ends a long-term ticketing agreement between the two companies and begins to offer its own box office service in 2009.

Live Nation said last week it also viewed the ticket resale market as an important opportunity for growth.

IAC shares fell 2.3 percent to $23.85 on Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Michele Gershberg and Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)