Viagogo finds buyer for StubHub’s international wing

Viagogo will be allowed to go ahead with its £3 billion acquisition of StubHub after finding another buyer for part of the business.

The online ticket giant had already promised to sell off StubHub’s international wing in order to allay competition concerns from the UK regulator.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) approved the plan to sell off StubHub’s non-North American business in April.

After that Viagogo went off to search for a buyer. On Wednesday the CMA said it had approved Digital Fuel Capital as a suitable new owner for the international wing of StubHub.

The watchdog has now confirmed its investigation into the deal will close.

Viagogo vice president of business development Cris Miller said: “We are pleased to confirm a buyer for StubHub International has been approved by the UK Competition and Markets Authority.

“This brings to an end the investigation into the much-anticipated merger of Viagogo and StubHub North America, which is now cleared to proceed.

“We appreciate the CMA’s role in bringing the merger to this conclusion, and we look forward to sharing more details about the integration of the two businesses with our loyal customers and partners very soon.”

Digital Fuel Capital is a private equity company based in the US state of Massachusetts.

Viagogo would not say how much it had agreed the sale with Digital Fuel Capital for.

The four billion dollar deal (£2.9 billion) between Viagogo and StubHub has been held up for months amid competition concerns from the UK regulator.

The CMA has been looking into the deal since December 2019, a month after it was announced.

In October last year the watchdog blocked the deal provisionally after saying it could substantially lessen competition in the ticket resale sector.

Between them the two companies have cornered 90% of the UK’s secondary ticketing market.

Months later Viagogo offered to sell part of StubHub if the merger got approval. In April this year the CMA said it would accept this if Viagogo found a buyer it approved of

Now Viagogo faces another challenge. The industry looks very different today than when the two businesses first agreed the deal.

Live events were closed in much of the world for large parts of the pandemic, putting strain on ticket-sellers.

Mr Miller said: “As the live events industry emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, robust competition in the ticketing market is needed more than ever and Viagogo will continue to take its essential role in the live events industry very seriously.

“Viagogo and StubHub will always remain committed to working with regulators, while providing safe and secure platforms for people to buy and sell tickets to events all over the world.”