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Regulator to investigate Viagogo’s StubHub deal
Posted on Friday, 26 June 2020 10:02
The Competition and Markets Authority has announced the launch of an in-depth investigation into the planned acquisition of StubHub by Viagogo.

Viagogo agreed to acquire the business from eBay for USD 4.05 billion in cash in November. At the time, the vendor’s chief executive, Scott Schenkel, said the move would maximise long-term value for its shareholders.

However, just a few days later, the managers of multiple artists, including PJ Harvey and Little Mix, wrote to the CMA to warn that the deal would give Viagogo a monopoly which would be damaging to the live music industry.

The regulator opened an investigation in December and in February, advised the parties to halt any planned integration until further notice. Nevertheless, the deal closed later that month.

An initial investigation was opened in April and this has now progressed to Phase 2.

Earlier this month, the CMA gave Viagogo and StubHub a week to submit proposals which would address its concerns over a combination of the businesses.

However, it has said the concessions made do not provide a “clear-cut solution” to the problems caused by the purchase.

Namely, the acquisition will give the enlarged entity an 80.0 per cent share of the UK’s secondary ticketing segment and could result in price increases for customers.

Viagogo and StubHub have said they will continue working with the regulator and will keep the two brands separate while the investigation is ongoing.

Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau van Dijk, shows the most valuable deal targeting a ticketing business to have been announced worldwide during 2020 to date is worth USD 225.00 million.

That transaction took the form of a capital increase as US-headquartered Eventbrite carried out a private placing of stock to Francisco Partners Management in May.

© Zephus Ltd