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Competition watchdog blow to Viagogo-StubHub merger

News
22 October 2020

THE PHASE 2 in-depth investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)  into Viagogo’s $4.05 billion (£2.91bn) acquisition of StubHub has resulted in a provisional decision that the merger would be anti-competitive.

The CMA said potential options for addressing its concerns include requiring Viagogo to sell all or part of StubHub.

Viagogo offered to divest itself of StubHub’s European business in a last-minute bid to gain a green light from the CMA when the regulators announced the Phase 2 investigation.

However, the offer was rejected, with the regulator stating that Viagogo and StubHub, previously owned by eBay, are close competitors in an already very concentrated market, and collectively they hold a 90 per cent market share.

Another CMA concern is that the merger would result in increased fees for customers who resell or buy secondary tickets.

“We’re now inviting comments on our provisional findings and possible remedies,” says CMA chair Stuart McIntosh.

Adam Webb campaign manager of anti-ticket touting body FanFair Alliance welcomed the provisional findings.

“Ultimately, the merger would bestow a hugely controversial business monopoly status in this country, and risk unpicking some significant progress made over recent years, to clean up the secondary ticketing market.”

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