Viagogo Completes $4B StubHub Acquisition as UK Merger Investigation Continues
Viagogo announced Thursday that it has completed a $4 billion acquisition of fellow resale ticketing site StubHub from former owner eBay.
“Today marks a big milestone for our company as the sale of StubHub to viagogo was successfully completed. We believe the future offers significant growth potential and the opportunity to create tremendous value and experiences for fans and partners alike,” StubHub said in a statement provided to Billboard.
StubHub president Sukhinder Singh Cassidy took to Twitter Thursday to express her excitement for the merger.
We announced back in November that StubHub would be joining forces with @viagogo, and today, we successfully closed that transaction. We are excited for what the future holds at StubHub and thank our partners @eBay for their support and partnership over the past 12 years!— Sukhinder Singh Cassidy (@sukhindersingh) February 13, 2020
Viagogo will maintain the StubHub brand and its headquarters in San Francisco, complying with a preliminary investigation by the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) competition watchdog that was opened into the merger in December following the sale's announcement. CMA opened the preliminary investigation with the concern that the merger could “result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.”
News of the completed acquisition comes just days after the CMA published an enforcement order on Monday stressing the two companies must remain separate and distinct until it has finished its investigation and made a ruling. The enforcement, however, does not stop the companies from completing their transaction.
That means Viagogo and StubHub cannot take any action that leads to the integration of StubHub with Viagogo, including changes to key staff, the merging of brand identities and the sharing of software and hardware.
The CMA filed the enforcement order claiming it “has reasonable grounds for suspecting” that integration arrangements are already in progress between the two companies.
StubHub added in its acquisition statement to Billboard that it “will continue to cooperate with the CMA and comply with their hold separate order.”
“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,” said Viagogo managing director Cris Miller in a statement. “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.”
The enforcement establishes that beginning Feb. 21, CEOs (or other senior execs) from both Viagogo and StubHub are required to report to the CMA every two weeks and confirm they are complying with the terms of the order until the companies cease to be distinct. Breaching the terms of the CMA order can result in a fine of up to 5% of a company's turnover -- both inside and outside the U.K. -- and possible imprisonment for up to two years.