Alibaba Pictures in talks to buy Chennai-based TicketNew

Alibaba Pictures’s acquisition of TicketNew could change the dynamics of ticketing, which is currently dominated by BookMyShow


Alibaba Group Holding boss Jack Ma. In October, Alibaba Pictures picked up a minority stake in Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners for film production. Photo: Bloomberg
Alibaba Group Holding boss Jack Ma. In October, Alibaba Pictures picked up a minority stake in Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners for film production. Photo: Bloomberg

Mumbai: Alibaba Pictures, the movie and TV content business controlled by the Chinese e-commerce giant, is in talks to buy a majority stake in Chennai-based Orbgen Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which operates ticket-booking platform TicketNew, according to two people familiar with the matter.

“The discussions are at an advanced stage and a deal will close soon,” one of two people said, speaking on condition of anonymity as he is not authorized to speak to reporters.

The value of the transaction is likely to be around $35 million for a 70-75% equity stake, said the second person.

TicketNew, founded in 2008 by Ramkumar, who goes by only one name, charges a convenience fee from users for booking tickets. It also gets a small fee from theatre owners for software installation and app development.

Ramkumar declined to comment.

An Alibaba Group spokesperson said: “We are committed to the development of our business in the Indian market for the long term. But we do not comment on market rumours.”

Alibaba Pictures was earlier known as ChinaVision Media Group Ltd. Alibaba acquired a majority stake in ChinaVision in March 2014 for $804 million. In China, Alibaba Pictures manages its ticketing business through subsidiary Tao Piao Piao.

The company has invested in Hollywood movies such as Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and Star Trek Beyond. In October, Alibaba Pictures picked up a minority stake in celebrated Hollywood director Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners, with an aim to co-produce and finance films for both global and Chinese audiences.

Alibaba Pictures’s entry could change the dynamics of ticketing, which is currently dominated by BookMyShow, the most funded internet company in this space.

“It will create good value for customers who will get better deals. The space will largely have two big players now,” an industry observer said on condition of anonymity.

TicketNew is a technology-led entertainment services provider, integrating movie theatres, film distributors, production houses, events and sports with consumers.

TicketNew’s customer base comprises of ticket brokers, venue managers, affiliate marketers, ticket retail customers, sports professionals, concert and event promoters, and software vendors, among others.

Its flagship product, Box Office, is an ERP platform for cinemas to optimize their operations.

TicketNew Box Office Suite is installed in more than 1,000 screens in over 10 countries, covering a wide range from single-screen independent theatres to some of the largest cinema chains in the world.

Its corporate headquarters are in Chennai, and it has offices in the US and UK. The company also offers mobile apps and customised web solutions to theatres.

Some of the key players in the home-grown ticket-booking space include Bookmyshow.com, kyazoonga.com and ticketdada.com.

Anuradha contributed to this story.

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