MTS has staked a claim to the e-ticket market by investing in two of Russia's biggest players.

The operator has paid RUB3.25 billion (€50 million) for a 100 percent stake in MDTZK, operating as Ticketland.ru and RUB495 million (€7 million) for a 78.2 percent stake in Kulturnaya Sluzhba, operating as Ponominalu.ru.

Both companies sell tickets to concerts, musicals, festivals, musical performances and sports events, with Ponominalu.ru holding the leading position in concert ticketing.

They will continue to operate as separate entities following the purchase, with MTS overseeing strategy and exercising financial control.

Mikhail Minin, CEO and founder of Pomominalu.ru, will remain with the company, retaining a 21.8 percent stake which he can sell until 2020.

An options agreement will also allow MTS to extend its share to 100 percent based on unspecified business metrics.

The transactions have received all necessary corporate and regulatory approvals.

MTS expects the new acquisitions to provide additional tools for big data analytics as well as channels for customer interaction and marketing activities.

Vyacheslav Nikolaev, VP of Marketing at MTS, claimed the two deals would allow MTS to achieve a “leading position” in the market.

He said: “Today, MTS delivers a wide range of digital content: TV in various formats, mobile books, music, etc.

"With the ability to offer tickets to a range of live events, we’ll be able to offer ‘real-life’ experiences as part of our product range and do so with the benefits of discounts through our loyalty program.

“Within our burgeoning app ecosystem and rising expertise in big data uses, our customers will be able to buy tickets directly from their mobile devices and receive personalised recommendations on interesting destinations and events."

The deal comes after the Russian operator last month acquired UK-based Gambit Esports and launched its own eSports division.

Gambit has four teams that compete at the likes of Counter-Strike and FIFA.

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