Online secondary ticket marketplace Vivid Seats is looking for a buyer and they’re hoping to fetch a price of about $1.5 billion, TechCrunch has learned.
According to multiple sources, private equity firm Vista Equity Partners is working with Morgan Stanley to unload Vivid, which could net a tidy profit for the firm a little over a year after acquiring the business for about $850 million.
Vivid Seats might not have the same name recognition as Ticketmaster or StubHub, but the Chicago-based firm has been a force in selling seats at concerts, theaters and sports events. Founded in 2001, the company had grown to become the third-largest secondary ticket seller in the U.S. by the time it received its strategic investment from Vista early last year.
According to one source, tech companies like Amazon and Priceline had taken a look at Vivid Seats but decided not to acquire it. We also heard that eBay-owned StubHub is not interested.
Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported on its terminal that Vista was considering a sale “after receiving inbound interest,” but did not offer further detail.
One challenge for Vivid is that it gets a large portion of its traffic from misleading affiliate sites. Customers are sometimes lured to a destination that’s not actually associated with the team or artist, a controversial practice within the industry.
It’s possible that Vivid Seats will not find a suitable strategic buyer and will sell to another private equity firm. One source mentioned Carlyle Group, but a different source suggested that would be unlikely because they own PrimeSport, a competitor in the space.
If Vivid can’t fetch its desired acquisition price, perhaps Vista will keep it in its portfolio until it grows its value.
When asked for comment, Vivid said “we don’t comment on industry rumors.”