Expanding its presence in the worldwide ticketing business, Los Angeles-based Ticketmaster has agreed to buy a 66% stake in MC France-Ticket, a unit of Canal Plus. The Paris-based company sells about a half-million event tickets per year in France.
MC France would be renamed Ticketmaster as part of the transaction, which sources valued in the low seven figures. Ticketmaster is the world's largest computerized ticketing service, selling nearly 70 million tickets per year via retail outlets, phone orders and the Internet.
Ticketmaster also announced record full-year revenue of $341 million for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, up 48% from the previous year. Fourth-quarter earnings, however, were down nearly 3%. Company executives attributed this downturn--from 6 cents per diluted share to 5 cents--to a higher tax rate in the fourth quarter.
Ticketmaster is 49% owned by Barry Diller-controlled USA Networks Inc. For the last several months, an independent panel has been reviewing Diller's proposal to purchase the rest of Ticketmaster for about $340 million.
Ticketmaster shares hit a record high of $28 during trading Wednesday, before closing at $26.88 on Nasdaq. Diller's offer is valued at about $25.30 per share.