Tickets.com Returns from Nasdaq Brink

Tickets.com (Nasdaq: TIXXD), a Costa Mesa, California-based Web site that provides ticketing for live events, announced Thursday that the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel will allow the company to remain listed on the Nasdaq exchange.

Tickets.com drummed up US$17 million in additional equity financing, and completed a one-for-eight reverse stock split to regain Nasdaq compliance.

Bear Stearns analyst Jeff Fieler told the E-Commerce Times that reverse stock splits often hold Nasdaq regulators at bay, but are not saviors in and of themselves. The additional financing, however, bodes well for Tickets.com’s long-term prognosis, accordingto Fieler.

“By itself, a reverse stock split does not do anything for a distressed company,” said Fieler. “But the additional financing is a positive development.”

Through July, the Nasdaq had delisted 279 companies in 2001 for regulatory non-compliance.

Raw Deal?

Tickets.com went public on November 4, 1999 at $12.50 per share, but by June of this year, the stock fell below Nasdaq’s $1 minimum bid price. Nasdaq granted the company an exception to the requirement, allowing Tickets.com time to complete its plan for regaining compliance.

“Our dot-com name, which is a slight misnomer, reallyhurt us,” Tickets.com chief financial officer EricBauer told the E-Commerce Times. “It was a case ofthrowing the baby out with the bathwater.”

Bauer said that the widespread contraction of the high-technology sector — specifically Internet firms with the once-Midas-like “dot-com” moniker — was areceding tide that unfortunately brought Tickets.com down with it.

Mistaken Identity

Tickets.com is primarily a business-to-business (B2B) technology and services provider for companies that either choose to outsource their entire ticketing operations or to license software for assistance with in-house operations. Tickets.com said that it has landed deals to become the official ticketing partner of MLB.com and the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

According to Bauer, revenues from Tickets.com’s software and services contracts are predictable, unlike revenues recorded by most dot-coms.

“There has been a misunderstanding of the space in which we play,” said Bauer. “But now we are stronger and better aligned with how this company should be presented.”

Battling Back

Tickets.com is gunning for profitability by Q1 2002, which accelerates the company’s earlier plan to reach profits sometime in 2003. According to Bauer, the company burned $7 million in Q2, but is on track to halve that number in Q3.

Tickets.com maintains that there is room at the top of the ticketing space, alongside rival Ticketmaster (Nasdaq: TMCS). Bauer told the E-Commerce Times that there is room for two winners in the online ticketing space.

Tickets.com’s automated ticketing services are used by entertainment organizations, such as performing arts centers and professional sports organizations, in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and Latin America. Its investors include General Atlantic Partners, Idealab! Capital Holdings and Excite.

Tickets.com stock closed Thursday at $3.03, up 12 cents.

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