Chicago-based Vivid Seats is set to go public by combining with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), Horizon. The companies estimated that the combined company will have a valuation of $1.95 billion, according to a press release.
“Vivid Seats is poised to benefit from pent-up demand created during the pandemic as fans are craving the opportunity to see their favorite sports, concert and theater events,” the release said. “Strong reputational gains with buyers and sellers driven by accommodating policies throughout the COVID-19 pandemic create (an) opportunity to drive outsized growth during post-pandemic recovery.”
Vivid Seats is an online marketplace that facilitates transactions between fans looking to buy or resell tickets to sports, concerts and theater events. The marketplace supports “12 million customers and 3,400 sellers transacting across more than 200,000 listed events.”
COVID-19 lockdowns and safety rules have pummeled the entertainment business overall, but the world seems to be moving back toward something like normal as vaccine availability becomes more widespread and many cities and countries loosen restrictions.
Horizon is backed by Eldridge Industries. A SPAC, or blank-check company, has no commercial operations, but is formed to raise cash and then to buy an existing company or companies. Horizon’s shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Horizon is led by Todd Boehly, the co-founder, chairman and CEO of Eldridge. The ex-Guggenheim executive also co-owns the Los Angeles Dodgers. Boehly said that Vivid Seats is a “highly profitable marketplace that will be well-positioned to drive continual long-term growth.” Vivid Seats CEO Stan Chia and his team, which includes CFO Lawrence Fey, will stay on at Vivid Seats. Boehly will join the Vivid Seats board.
The release said that “existing Vivid Seats shareholders will roll 100 percent of their equity into the new company, with all proceeds from this transaction being used for debt repayment and capital structure optimization. It is anticipated that the combined company will have an equity market capitalization at closing of approximately $1.95 billion.”