Viagogo’s £3.2bn takeover of StubHub will harm competition, watchdog finds

Ticket resale site Viagogo’s £3.2 billion acquisition of rival StubHub could lead to higher fees for fans and lower quality services, the competition watchdog has provisionally found.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said its in-depth inquiry has also provisionally concluded that the deal could result in reduced innovation in the sector.

It said the firms are the only two main companies in the UK’s secondary ticketing market, with a combined market share of more than 90%, and that the tie-up could therefore see a “substantial lessening of competition” in the sector.

In reaching its initial conclusion, the CMA said it was concerned that the merger could lead to increased fees for customers, including fans, who resell or buy secondary tickets to live events.

It said it was mindful of the impact of the pandemic on the live events industry, but that Viagogo and StubHub would still remain “important competitors” without joining forces.

Stuart McIntosh, chairman of the CMA inquiry group, said: “The evidence we’ve seen so far consistently points in the same direction – that Viagogo and StubHub have a market share of more than 90% combined and compete closely with each other.

“We are therefore concerned that their merger could lead to secondary ticketing customers facing higher fees and lower quality services.

“We’re now inviting comments on our provisional findings and possible remedies.”