ticketmaster-ticketnow.jpgTicketmaster, the large ticket seller, said it would buy entertainment event ticket reseller TicketsNow for $265 million.

Ticketmaster has long been the monster of ticket sales, but it has been greedy, charging high fees for its service, and now it is facing increasing competition. Even this deal raises new questions for the company.

Announcement is here.

TicketsNow is a Web-based site specializing in music, sports and other live entertainment event tickets. Ticketmaster joins eBay and others in going after the large and growing reseller market. EBay bought StubHub, another market leader for $310 million a year ago. Some founders of StubHub have since launched another site called Viagogo, now one of Europe’s leading secondary ticketing website. Another player is Razorgator, backed by venture firm Kleiner Perkins.

This looks like a big win for the TicketsNow investors, who pumped in $34 million beginning in mid-2006. Investors include Adams Street Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, DFJ Portage Venture Partners and New World Ventures.

Ticketmaster, owned by Internet conglomerate IAC, said it will create an integrated platform on which fans will be able to review and compare ticket availability and pricing for both regular and resale categories. Ticketmaster said it will work closely with the NFL, NHL and NBA and venue, promoter, and other live entertainment clients to offer ticket validation and delivery in the resale market.

Launched in 1999 and based in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, TicketsNow says it works with more than 800 vetted professional ticket resellers.

There are growing challenges to Ticketmaster’s main business.

Ticketmaster’s largest client, concert promoter Live Nation, has announced it will stop doing business with Ticketmaster at the end of this year and to start a competing ticketing service. The WSJ, which has a story on the Ticketmaster-TicketsNow deal, notes:

The acquisition raises potentially thorny questions for Ticketmaster, which has previously sued brokers who use automated programs called “bots” to scoop up tickets faster than regular fans can, and then resell them for big profits on sites such as TicketsNow. TicketsNow Chief Executive Cheryl Rosner said her site currently doesn’t make any effort to keep tabs on how its 800 registered sellers acquire the tickets they sell. Moriarty said Ticketmaster would attempt to root out people who used technology unfairly, although he declined to give specifics.

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