Business

Alibaba picks up majority stake in TicketNew

Stake sale to help online movie ticketing firm to scale up

In a significant move, Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba has decided to invest more than ₹120 crore to pick up a majority stake in Orbgen Technologies Private Limited, which runs ticketing website TicketNew.

The acquisition is being made through Alibaba Pictures Group Limited, the entertainment arm of the Chinese e-commerce major. It signals its major buy outside China in the burgeoning Internet ticketing industry.

The company was founded in 2007 by Ramkumar Nammalvar, who said Orbgen notched up a topline of ₹18 crore in 2015-16 and had been showing profit for the last five years.

The entry of Alibaba was facilitated through a combination of stake dilution by the promoters, led by Mr. Nammalvar and the issue of fresh equity at an undisclosed premium.

Post-acquisition, Alibaba will have four nominees on Orbgen’s board. The promoters will have two representatives.

Stating that this was the maiden fund-raising exercise by Orbgen since inception, Mr. Nammalvar said this would bring growth money for the company and provide return on capital investment for the promoters.

TicketNew is an online movie ticket booking platform. It allows customers to check for movies, theatres, events, stores, sports, parties and other entertainment activities. It allows its customers to book tickets for their favourite movies, plays, sports, and events.

TicketNew, according to a company release, has presence in over 300 cities in India. “The company holds a strong position in the movie ticketing space in the country due to its unmatched network of neighbourhood theatres to large cinema chains across urban and rural areas,’’a statement said. Orbgen has offices in Chennai and Hyderabad. It intends to set up offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru soon.

Online ticketing market

With Alibaba on board, Mr. Nammalvar is hopeful that TicketNew would emerge a good competitor in the space, which is largely dominated by BookMyShow. He estimated the movie ticketing market in India to be in the vicinity of $2.2 billion to $2.5 billion. Out of this, online ticketing was only 10% to 15%, he added.

He said TicketNew had now tied up with major multiplexes in the country.

In the last few years, Alibaba Pictures has expanded its businesses beyond its home market. It has an office in Los Angeles, and has been looking to expand its footprints in Asia-Pacific regions.

“In India, online movie ticketing is becoming increasingly popular, with increasing penetration in tier-2 and tier-3 regions.

The strategic partnership between Alibaba Pictures and TicketNew can be mutually beneficial,” a release said.

Given Alibaba Pictures’ operational knowhow and financial resources, the partnership can potentially help strengthen the leadership and market share of TicketNew in the e-commerce ticketing space and enable the company to capitalise on the burgeoning consumer market in India,’’ according the company statement.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 7:58:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/alibaba-picks-up-majority-stake-in-ticketnew/article18724409.ece

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