Nine sells events division Nine Live to private equity firm Affinity for $640m price tag

Nine Live Nine Entertainment Co has today sold its events business Nine Live to private equity firm Affinity Equity Partners for $640m.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, Nine (ASX:NEC) confirmed the sale of the business, which includes ticketing business Ticketek, arguing the money from the sale would give them flexibility for other investment options and a possible return of capital to shareholders.

“Nine Live has grown strongly under NEC ownership for the past 8 years,” said David Gyngell. “The team, led by Geoff Jones, have done a remarkable job expanding the business into touring and events and, more recently, into international sports and exhibitions.”

Gyngell also flagged that in the wake of the sale Nine would be focusing the business on television, digital and subscription video on demand (SVOD).

“With the sale of Nine Live, our focus now is on optimising the performance of our free-to-air TV, digital and subscription streaming businesses and maximising returns to our shareholders.”

Brett Sutton, head of Australia & New Zealand at the Asian private equity firm, 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 throughout the region, which aligns with Affinity’s investment strategy.

“Affinity looks forward to partnering with Nine Live to explore opportunities for expansion while maintaining Nine Live’s outstanding track record of customer service.”

Nine said the net proceeds from the transaction are expected to approximate 64 cents per share and will be completed on 31 July 2015 subject to the usual conditions.

Nic Christensen 


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