Alibaba Pictures, the entertainment unit of China’s ecommerce major Alibaba Group, has reportedly acquired a majority stake in Chennai-based TicketNew for an undisclosed amount.
Post-acquisition, Alibaba will have four representatives on TicketNew’s board and the firm’s promoters will have two of their representatives. TicketNew founder and CEO Ramkumar Nammalvar will continue to spearhead the business. It also seems that TicketNew will continue working as an independent entity, as Alibaba further plans to invest $18.65 Mn (INR 120 Cr in the startup, per se media reports.
“Given Alibaba Pictures’ operational know-how and financial resources, the partnership can potentially help strengthen the leadership and market share of TicketNew in the ecommerce ticketing space and enable the company to capitalise on the burgeoning consumer market in India,’’ the company stated in an official statement.
This is the first time that Alibaba Pictures has invested outside China. Earlier, in January 2017, reports also surfaced about Alibaba Pictures is looking to make a $35 Mn investment in TicketNew, for a speculated 70-75% stake in the startup.
Furthermore, CEO Ramkumar also stated in an official statement, “Alibaba plans to invest to the tune of $18.65 Mn (NR 120 Cr) over a period of time. We are delighted to work with Alibaba Pictures. This secures the future of our staff and the company for generations to come”.
Run under the name of Orbgen Technologies Private Limited, TicketNew was founded in 2008 by Ramkumar, V Sasi Raman, and Ravishankar Ramanujalu. Just like BookMyShow, TicketNew is an online ticket booking platform for plays, movies, events and more. Recently, TicketNew has also partnered with major multiplexes in the country.
The startup has a team of over 250 employees and has a presence in 300 cities in India. “The company holds a strong position in the movie ticketing space in the country due to its unmatched network of neighbourhood theatres to large cinema chains across urban and rural areas,” was stated in the press release statement.
The deal with Alibaba Pictures is a maiden deal for TicketNew and will help them further strengthen their profits. As Ramkumar added further, “The movie-ticketing market in India is slated to be in the vicinity of $2.2 Bn to $2.5 Bn and that out of this, online ticketing constituted only 10-15%. Also, the per-screen ratio was very negligible in India. In China, it stood at 40,000 screens. With this funding, we are hopeful that TicketNew will emerge as a good competitor in the space which is largely dominated by BookMyShow.”
Alibaba, at present, is aiming to be a part of the Indian ecommerce bandwagon. It already holds a majority stake in Paytm’s spun off ecommerce business. With Paytm Payments Bank in place, and with Ticketnew, Alibaba is all ready to make its next move to take the largest pie of the $100 Bn worth opportunities, with other majors including Flipkart and Amazon.
The development was first reported by PTI.