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TimeOut takes over event booking platform YPlan for £1.6m

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London-based events startup Yplan has been acquired by magazine publisher Time Out for £1.6 million. Reports say that the figure is set to rise to £2 million after a year if certain terms of the acquisition are met.

Founded in 2012, Yplan offers a mix of event tickets on its app and website to enable discovery and booking of events taking place in the city. This description of its functions makes it seem like a good for fit for Time Out.The latter says that combined with its “high-quality curated content”, the acquisition will help its monthly global audience of 137 million to discover, book and share what the world’s cities have to offer, “faster, easier and better than ever before”.

It’s also talking up YPlan’s tech and says the purchase is in line with Time Out’s post-IPO intention to invest in technology and product so that they can enhance the e-commerce side of its business, and also expand its team of engineers.

TimeOut does not plan to spend any cash on the startup. Instead, it will be swapping 1,166,644 in ordinary shares, with each share representing a value of £1.393.

The fact that YPlan went for a mere £1.6 million, especially after having raised $37.7m in funding to date, is surprising. It had, in the past, raked in support from prominent tech investors such as Octopus Ventures, Wellington Partners and General Catalyst, and even Ashton Kutcher, all of whom will likely have made a loss. The news of the acquisition comes after the startup’s announcement in February that it was laying off 30% of its global workforce, with 22 employees losing their jobs.

Prior to that, in 2014, the events discovery app revealed that it would be pivoting and laying off staff as it closed a $24m Series B round. As a result of the pivot, Yplan moved away from its direct sales model, and became a DIY service, allowing events organisers to manage their own listings.

Time Out chief executive Julio Bruno, said,

Developing e-commerce and monetising our audience is an important element of our ambitious growth strategy. We acquired YPlan because its advanced technology will significantly accelerate this strategy.

In a statement regarding the acquisition, the TimeOut group also says,

The technology will further enable the Company to manage transactions between consumers and businesses in-house, improving the user experience. The Acquisition also brings a talented product development and technology team, with the specific know-how to drive bookings and optimise the conversion rate of Time Out’s audience.


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