Alibaba Pictures may pick majority stake in TicketNew for $35 mn

9 Jan, 2017

Alibaba0Alibaba Pictures, the entertainment unit of e-commerce major Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, may buy Chennai-based Orbgen Technologies Pvt Ltd, which runs online events booking portal TicketNew.

The deal is likely to be around $35 million and will see Alibaba Pictures pick 70-75% equity stake, a report in Mint stated on Monday, citing two people familiar with the matter.

"We would not be able comment on any market speculations at this point of time," a spokesperson from TicketNew said in response to an e-mail query from TechCircle.in.

An e-mail to Alibaba confirming the development did not elicit any response at the time of filing this report.

TicketNew was founded in 2008 by N Ramkumar, V Sasi Raman and Ravishankar Ramanujalu. Ramkumar is a computer science engineer with 20-plus years of operational and sales experience. Raman, with more than 13 years of experience in IT, had earlier worked at Accenture. Ramanujalu has more than 18 years of experience in managing enterprise projects, expertise in assessing, planning and implementing IT solutions. In 2014, TechCircle.in had reported that the firm was in talks to raise $3 million.

TicketNew is an entertainment services provider which integrates mainly single-screen theatres, film distributors, production houses and events with users.

Its flagship product, Box Office, is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform that helps cinemas optimise their operations. The company also offers mobile apps and customised web solutions to theatres. It charges a convenience fee of Rs 20-30 from end users while booking tickets, in addition to a small fee from the theatre owners for software installation and app development.

TicketNew claims to have deployed its product in cinemas across India, Oman, Dubai, Maldives, Nepal and Singapore. The firm launched its operations in Europe in 2014, and has offices in Manchester and Barcelona, and has partners in Ireland, the Netherlands, Turkey and Greece. In Europe, TicketNew offers its services not only to cinemas but also at sports stadiums, theatres and music venues. TicketNew's major competitor is BookMyShow, a Network18 company.

In March last year, Alibaba had shared plans to enter India by exploring e-commerce opportunities. In India, the firm owns stakes in One97 Communications, which owns mobile wallet Paytm and e-commerce company Snapdeal.

Further fuelling speculation of its India entry, it was reported last month that Alibaba would be setting up an office in Mumbai.

In the second quarter of FY2016-17, Alibaba reported strong revenue growth led by its core business as well as the digital media and entertainment segment. Revenue rose 55% to 34.29 billion yuan, or $5.14 billion, for the three months through September 2016 from 22.17 billion yuan, or $3.49 billion. Revenue from the company's core commerce business rose 41% year-on-year to 28.49 billion yuan. Sales from the cloud computing business climbed 130% to about 1.5 billion yuan while revenue from the media and entertainment segment surged four-fold to 3.6 billion yuan.