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CMA confirms Phase 1 Viagogo-StubHub probe

24 April 2020

BUYERS OF resold tickets on Viagogo and StubHub may lose out whatever decision the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) makes about their potential merger, according to anti-touting campaigner FanFair Alliance (FFA).

The CMA confirmed this month it will enter Phase 1 of an investigation into the acquisition of eBay-owned StubHub by Viagogo after issuing both with an Initial Enforcement Order in January (see LIVE UK, issue 241).

The two companies have been prevented from integrating by a CMA ruling, although the £3.9 billion ($4.05bn) takeover, which includes StubHub’s US operation, has now been completed.

FFA campaign manager Adam Webb notes the acquisition is spectacularly ill-timed since the Covid-19 pandemic hit global markets and that the companies, merged or otherwise, may be forced to return to practices that prompted the CMA to take court action in 2018.

“Given the crazy money Viagogo is paying for the company [StubHub], they may need to charge customers more in fees or slip back into breaking the law.” Webb tells LIVE UK.

“[Viagogo CEO] Eric Baker has paid is way above what StubHub should be worth. It is not a Silicon Valley tech start-up but a 20-year-old company whose revenues were unlikely to soar, even in good times.”

The CMA is scheduled to announce its decision on 11 June.

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