SBD/Issue 96/Facilities & Venues

Viagogo Secures $15M In Funding; Agassi, Graf Sign On As Investors

Secondary-ticketing company Viagogo has secured $15M of additional funding to support its global expansion efforts. Former ATP Tour player Andre Agassi and Int'l Tennis HOFer Steffi Graf are among the new investors contributing to the funding (Viagogo). Viagogo said that Agassi and Graf "have invested a seven figure sum" and "will sit on the advisory board" (REUTERS, 2/4).

Viagogo Feels Graf (l), Agassi (r) Can Help
Company Expand Into European Markets
HIGH ROLLERS: In London, Ian King reports Agassi and Graf "join several high-profile investors to have backed Viagogo, which has raised" $70M since its launch in August '06. Other investors include U.K.-based investment banker Lord Jacob Rothschild, Lastminute.com co-Founder Brent Hoberman and venture capitalist Danny Rimer. Viagogo is the official secondary ticketing partner of EPL clubs Manchester United and Chelsea, and the company has struck similar deals with European soccer clubs Everton, Bayern Munich, Heart of Midlothian and rugby clubs Leicester Tigers, London Wasps and Harlequins. Viagogo also "signed a deal last May with Madonna" to become the official premium and secondary ticketing partner for her European concert tour. Viagogo Founder & CEO Eric Baker said that the funds raised "would enable the company to continue signing such partnerships and to expand into other European markets." Baker said that "obtaining the support of [Agassi and Graf] was central to Viagogo's future expansion plans." Baker: "We will be pushing more into tennis and you cannot get two better people to get you into that market. Germany is becoming a major market for us, in particular, and Steffi is just about the most popular female athlete in the history of Germany." Baker "declined to give details of Viagogo's recent financial performance," but said, "Our turnover is not quite at $100[M] but it is getting really close. We are not measuring our growth rate in percentages but multiples" (LONDON TIMES, 2/5).

PRICE CHECK: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Ty McMahan cited a source as saying that the new funding "values Viagogo at more than $300[M]." McMahan noted Viagogo charges buyers a 10% fee and sellers a 15% fee on each confirmed transaction and handled $100M in transactions in '08. Baker "expects total sales to double or triple this year, though he didn't provide specific figures." Baker said that the company "was on a clear path to profitability without the extra funding, but wanted to push into new markets, particularly Western Europe" (WSJ.com, 2/4).

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