The 2013 Amsterdam Dance Event is now underway, and it’s the biggest year yet for the conference, with a staggering number of events already going on all over the city. Thursday proved to be the busiest day for the industry side of ADE, with Danny Tenaglia, Tiga, Sander van Doorn, Richie Hawtin, Tommie Sunshine and Giorgio Moroder just a small cross-section of the artists who spoke on panels. However, the day’s most-talked-about session was a Q&A between SFX head of acquisitions Shelly Finkel and ID&T CEO/founder Duncan Stutterheim, where it was revealed full ownership of the Dutch events company has been passed over to the American powerhouse.
“We finalized the deal an hour ago,” Stutterheim told the room at the commencement of the panel. “Instead of the previous 75-percent, ID&T is now going to be 100-percent owned by SFX. Now it’s very clear, I work for SFX. I will be working at head office in Europe, and we’re going to create still the same shows. But from this point, ID&T and SFX will be together.”
Stutterheim talked about the different components of the rapidly expanding SFX empire, mentioning the Stereosonic festival tour in Australia, as well as America’s Life In Color parties, which he says ID&T have worked to help bring to Europe this year. ID&T is of course world-renowned for its events like Sensation and Tomorrowland, both of which have been imported to the U.S. market in 2013. (TomorrowWorld recently drew a reported 140,000 people to Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia.)
A lot can change in 12 months. At last year’s ADE, Stutterheim was coy about selling to investors. “A few months ago, suddenly someone from America wanted to give us a hundred…million dollars,” he said then. “The choice was very difficult. But we didn’t do it.”
On Thursday’s Q&A panel, Stutterheim shared a few details about how he was convinced to join SFX. “We had worked together in the U.S.,” he said. “But at that point we really believed that we wanted to be a Dutch company creating shows, and we believed we had a strong market across a number of countries…but sometimes the idea needs to incubate.”
“As we continued to work together, at some point a list came up of the possibilities of what could be done if we sold the company. TomorrowWorld was an example of that; the festival cost 16 million dollars to put up. Those are amounts of money that we just don’t have. We are a big company, but we can’t invest that kind of money. So it was an opportunity for the company to grow.”
Stutterheim and Finkel also hinted at future synergy opportunities for the SFX empire, revealing they’re close to acquiring a ticketing arm. They also touched on a new digital strategy that will see Beatport extended as a digital content platform. The news follows what was perceived as a weak debut by SFX on the stock market earlier this month, with shares falling $1.11, or 8.5%, to $11.89 after the initial public offering.