Smurfit family members boost Tixserve backing

MIchael Smurfit among those to top up investment in Patrick Kirby’s business

Several members of the Smurfit family have topped up their investment in Tixserve, a digital ticketing company run by Patrick Kirby.

Recent filings show that former Smurfit Kappa chief executive Michael Smurfit, his son Michael Smurfit jnr and his brother Dermot Smurfit collectively put in €190,000.

Documents show that in the most recent round of investment Michael Smurfit put in €59,815 through his Isle of Man investment vehicle Bacchantes Limited, Dermot Smurfit invested €95,000, while Michael Smurfit jnr invested €35,185.

Michael Smurfit has participated in several rounds of investment in Tixserve over the last seven years, and has invested just under €350,000 to date, company documents show.


The fundraising round brings the total Smurfit family investment in Tixserve to about €715,000, some of which went towards buying A preference shares, a category of share that carries special redemption and dividend rights compared with ordinary shares, and the rest of which went towards ordinary shares in the company.

Records show Smurfit controls about 20 per cent of the company’s A preference shares, while his brother Dermot holds just over 30 per cent of the same category of shares.

The most recent company accounts for Tixserve show the company had accumulated losses of €3.6 million at the end of 2022, up from €2.5 million the year before.

Tixserve is run by Patrick Kirby, a former managing director of Payzone, an electronic payments company.

On his LinkedIn page, Kirby says he “played a senior leadership role in building two successful European electronic transaction businesses at Payzone/alphyra and Transaction Network Services”.

After leaving Payzone he founded an ecommerce company called Savvypay, which he said “failed for UK regulatory reasons”.

He founded Tixserve in 2015 to create an online ticketing service for the live entertainment sector, and the company’s technology has been used by customers such as the English Rugby Football Union, where it is used by fans attending matches at Twickenham.

Other clients have included Scottish Rugby and Welsh Rugby, and music company HMV, for concerts by high profile musicians such as Ed Sheehan.

One of the company’s directors is Tim Chambers, a former executive at Ticketmaster and Live Nation.

Other backers of Tixserve include the Irish taxpayer through Enterprise Ireland, which has invested around €250,000 in the company through cumulative redeemable preference shares, which carry an interest rate of 8 per cent.

News of the Smurfit family’s investments come days ahead of when Smurfit Kappa, which is led by Tony Smurfit, is due to report its first quarter earnings. The firm is expected to post earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation of about €424 million, Davy analyst Justin Jordan wrote in a research note on Monday, with the company likely to be buoyed by higher box prices from the middle of this year. Smurfit Kappa is on track to merge with US firm WestRock later this year, and is set to switch its main stock market listing to the US as a result.