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Piletilevi Group interested in acquisitions in central Europe

Piletilevi Group, an Estonia-headquartered ticket sales platform backed by sponsor BaltCap, is interested in acquiring smaller foreign peers, CEO Sven Nuutmann told Mergermarket.

Management would assess opportunities to buy ticketing companies in countries including the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Slovakia, and potentially Poland, Nuutmann said. Prospective targets would be among the top three players in their markets, and 30% to 40% of their internet traffic should be direct, he said. 

Piletilevi Group, which expects mediated ticket turnover of EUR 210m this year with an EBITDA of around EUR 7.5m, is keen on players with EBITDA in the EUR 1m to EUR 1.5m range, he added.

The company is receptive to target proposals from sellside advisors but can handle M&A work internally and does not need buyside advisory support, he said.

Nuutmann did not disclose how much Piletilevi Group could spend on acquisitions, which would depend on factors including deal size. The company hopes to be able to fund new deals from its own resources and bank loans in a near term, he said, adding, however, that one of its previous acquisitions was also backed by its shareholders, alongside financing from SEB bank.

Acquisitions would be most efficient within the next two years, he said, adding that BaltCap’s exit is likely around 2030.

The potential exit date is rather later than earlier in Piletilevi Group’s case, as the sponsor wants to have sufficient time to build the business, BaltCap Partner Oliver Kullman said.

Piletilevi Group has a Mergermarket Likely to Exit (LTE) score of 51*, weighted by the time since the company’s most recent acquisition and how long  BaltCap has held the business.

BaltCap agreed to acquire a majority stake in Piletilevi Group (previously known as Baltic Ticket Holdings) in January 2021 for an undisclosed consideration, as reported. Nuutmann acquired a minority stake, as reported.

Earlier this month, Piletilevi Group acquired an 80.2% stake in Bilete.ro, a Romanian ticketing company, and an 80% stake in the Czech-based peer GoOut.net, both for undisclosed considerations, according to press releases on its sponsor’s website.

The group handled the M&A work internally and used only local law firms – Glatzova & Co. for the Czech-based acquisition and RTPR in Romania – for legal due diligence in both cases, Nuutmann said.

The deals will add around EUR 90m in gross ticket sales to Piletilevi Group this year, around EUR 75m through GoOut.net and around EUR 15m from Bilete.ro, he said, adding that the deals have also doubled Piletilevi Group’s workforce to around 180.

Piletilevi Group, which was active in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania ahead of the acquisitions, generated around EUR 100m gross sales in 2022, with EUR 10m net revenue and EUR 3.5m EBITDA, Nuutmann said.

The company, which expects to issue 15m tickets this year, plans to increase sales to EUR 300m over the next three years, according to a recent press release. These growth plans are organic and do not take into account potential new acquisitions, he said. For example, Piletilevi Group is investing into a software platform, which will also open a new revenue stream from a white-label solution offering in the future, he added. 

* Mergermarket's LTE predictive analytics assign a score to sponsor-backed companies to help track and predict when an exit could occur through M&A, an IPO, a direct listing or a deSPAC transaction.