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Ticketmaster and Cendant Expected to Strike a Deal

February 11, 1998|MARLA MATZER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Ticketmaster today is expected to announce a multiyear marketing partnership with Cendant Corp., a direct marketing and travel services corporation that owns the Avis car rental company and a number of hotel chains, including Days Inn, Howard Johnson and Ramada.

According to sources, Cendant will pay Los Angeles-based Ticketmaster an advance of $7.5 million against sales commissions. Ticketmaster, the dominant company in the live-event ticketing business, would refer callers to its service to Cendant offerings, and receive a cut of those transactions handled by Ticketmaster operators.

The deal is the latest in a series of moves by Ticketmaster to leverage its customer database and the 30 million-plus calls a year it fields from primarily 18-to-45-year-old, affluent ticket buyers. Within the last two years, the world's leading computerized ticketing firm has struck deals with companies including MasterCard and PepsiCo Inc. that allow those companies to market themselves in various ways to its patrons.

Cendant, based in Parsippany, N.J., was formed last year, with the $14-billion merger of CUC International and HFS Inc. CUC (formerly Comp-U-Card) was a direct marketing company with 1996 revenue of $2.4 billion; for a membership fee of $50 to $70 a year, consumers can get discounts via phone or the Internet on everything from travel packages to automobiles through Cendant's Travelers Advantage and AutoVantage.

HFS became the world's largest franchiser by acquiring hotel chains such as Travelodge and Super 8, along with vehicle rental companies including Avis. Cendant now calls itself "the world's premier marketer and provider of consumer and business services."

Ticketmaster is half-owned by HSN Inc., the parent company of television's Home Shopping Network.

In October, HSN Chairman Barry Diller made an offer to buy the rest of Ticketmaster for $307.5 million in cash; that transaction is still under consideration by a Ticketmaster-appointed committee of outside directors.

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