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West End ticket agent set for High Court date

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A High Court hearing later this week of a petition to wind up Seatem Ticketing Services Ltd has left the British operations of its international entertainment group owners in limbo.

The application, taken by Fulham Football Club, led to the Seatem Group suspending trading on August 11, effectively placing it in administration.

If the petition is successful, an official administrator will be appointed to decide the future of the stricken company. The move has led to the Seatem Group’s website being taken off-line in what a company source described to The Stage as “a difficult position” with “seriously detrimental” consequences.

The Stage has also learned of “significant cash issues in the business for some time” that have been exacerbated by Seatem’s failure to attract outside investment.

The action has also had a knock-on effect on Keith Prowse Tickets, a company with a venerable history dating back to 1780, and which Seatem purchased for £5.5 million in 1994, just three years after it briefly collapsed with debts in the region of £7 million. Telephone calls to its offices are greeted by a recorded message saying, “Due to an emergency situation we are presently unable to assist you”.

It is believed that Seatem’s bankers blocked moves by the company’s board to head off the High Court action. Sources said Seatem’s preferred strategy would have been to “suspend trading, appoint an administrator, re-structure and emerge from that”, but that it must now wait for a judicial appointment of external administrators.

In May this year, the Seatem Group sold Enta, the ticketing system used by the majority of West End and UK commercial theatres selling around 30 million tickets each year, for an undisclosed sum to private equity firm Octopus Investments.

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