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Viagogo-StubHub merger complete but CMA continues its investigation

10 March 2020

CONTROVERSIAL RESALE website Viagogo has completed its £3.9 billion ($4.05bn) acquisition of StubHub from eBay, announced in December.

However, the Initial Enforcement Order (IEC) issued by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) still prevents the companies from integrating the websites while it continues its preliminary investigation (see LIVE UK issue 241).

“We are pleased to confirm the closure of our purchase of StubHub, an important milestone in our journey to deliver a more competitive customer offering,” says Viagogo MD Cris Miller, based at the Geneva-registered company’s London office.

“The two businesses, Viagogo and StubHub, will remain separate globally in line with the recent order from the CMA until their examination into the deal is complete.”

Adam Webb, from anti ticket-touting campaign group FanFair Alliance tells LIVE UK, “I suspect the chances of regulatory approval are far higher in the US. But only because StubHub operates in a highly competitive environment over there, with other secondary sites like VividSeats and SeatGeek also vying for resellers inventory.

“The UK is completely different. Viagogo and StubHub don’t have that type of competition. While they engage in commercial secondary ticketing, the rest of the market is heading in the direction of capped, consumer-to-consumer ticket resale.

“For those reasons, the impacts of the merger would be far more profound in the UK and Europe. It would consolidate market power in a solitary monopoly platform. And one that carries considerable baggage and no end of controversy.”

The IEC bans the companies from taking any actions to the integration and requires the CEO of each firm to provide the CMA with statements confirming compliance every two weeks.

The CMA will follow this preliminary inquiry with a formal Phase 1 investigation, in which they consider comments submitted by third parties.

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