Davey’s holding in Highlanders much reduced

The man who led the charge in buying the Highlanders appears to be reducing his presence in the franchise.

Matthew Davey, the main shareholder of a group of four, bought the private licence to operate the Highlanders in 2015 but has left the board and is no longer involved in selling tickets to Highlanders games.

Davey, who founded Dunedin-based Ticket Direct in 1999, was the majority owner of the franchise with 77% of the shares when the licence was purchased in late 2015.

But information from the New Zealand Companies office shows his shareholding has now slipped to 27%.

He left the board in late May and has been replaced by Auckland businesswoman Nicola O’Rourke, who is the general manager of Lewis Road Creamery and the chairwoman of New Zealand Food Basket Ltd. She has links to the province, having attended the University of Otago.

The shares were sold to his three partners from the 2015 deal: Nelson businessman Shane Drummond, Sydney resident Raymond Burke and Christchurch businessman Warren Goddard.

Ticket Direct was rebranded to Ticket Rocket last year.

It moved out of ticketing both Highlanders and Crusaders home games in March this year. The ticketing contract had been taken up by Ticketek. Other sports have also switched ticket providers. The Ticket Rocket website offered no events yesterday.

Ticket Rocket has been accused of failing to refund tickets and it faces court action following an event in Palmerston North in March, involving more than $600,000 worth of tickets.

Davey could not be contacted yesterday. Highlanders chairman Doug Harvie and Highlanders chief executive Roger Clark could also not be contacted yesterday.

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