Viagogo/StubHub Merger: UK Watchdog Launches In-Depth Review

viagogo wants StubHub from eBay
– viagogo wants StubHub from eBay
Selling point: $4.05 billion

The Competition and Markets Authority in the UK has launched Phase 2 in its investigation of the merger between viagogo and StubHub.
The decision to launch an in-depth investigation is based on the information currently available to the CMA, that “it is or may be the case that this merger constitutes a relevant merger situation that has resulted or may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within a market or markets in the United Kingdom,” according to the CMA’s wording.
The CMA looked into the viagogo/StubHub merger soon after it was announced in November 2019, and ordered both companies to halt any merger proceedings in February.
Now it identified a “relevant merger situation,” in that “enterprises carried on by Pugnacious Endeavors, Inc (viagogo) have ceased to be distinct from enterprises carried on by StubHub, Inc., StubHub (UK) Limited, StubHub Europe S.à.r.l., StubHub India Private Limited, StubHub International Limited, StubHub Taiwan Co., Ltd., StubHub GmbH, and Todoentradas, S.L.”
The CMA states that “the creation of that situation has resulted, or may be expected to result, in a substantial lessening of competition within a market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services, including the supply of online exchange platforms for selling and buying secondary tickets (Secondary Ticketing Exchange Platforms) in the United Kingdom.”
The CMA has 24 weeks to undertake its Phase 2 analysis and to prepare and publish its final report and decision, including suggestions to remedy the situation. 
A viagogo spokesperson provided Pollstar with the following comment: “As we have throughout this process, we will continue to work diligently with the CMA during Phase 2 of their review. We remain committed to our belief that the combination of the two companies is a good move for customers worldwide.”
Adam Webb of FanFair Alliance, the UK’s campaign group against for-profit ticket resale, said: “Even in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the thought of such a business monopolising ‘for profit’ secondary ticketing remains highly problematic. Viagogo’s predatory marketing practices and business model continue to endanger audiences, and its $4.05 billion acquisition of StubHub raises acute competition concerns, particularly in the UK. 
“Earlier this month, Viagogo was required to deliver a clear-cut solution to address these concerns. They have failed to do this. FanFair Alliance therefore welcomes the CMA’s decision to refer the merger for an in-depth investigation.”