ANTITRUST

UK’s Competition Regulator Digs Further Into StubHub-Viagogo Merger

UK's CMA Digs Further Into Merger Between Stubhub And Viagogo

Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is taking a closer look into how the possible $4 billion merger of StubHub and Viagogo will affect competition, the Financial Times (FT) reported.

The CMA said it found the combination could bring about “a substantial lessening of competition” in the secondary ticketing space, according to FT.

StubHub said it would keep working with the CMA as it progressed into the second phase of its probe, and operations and brands of StubHub and Viagogo would remain separate.

“We look forward to the day when the companies can combine to provide consumers wider access to their favorite events,” StubHub noted, according to FT.

Viagogo also noted that it would keep cooperating with the CMA amid the second phase of the investigation.

“We remain committed to our belief that the combination of the two companies is a good move for customers worldwide,” Viagogo said, FT reported.

The CMA said earlier in June that the arrangement of Viagogo to buy StubHub would be sent for deeper review if there were not “acceptable undertakings” to make changes to the arrangement’s terms, the FT report stated. CMA executive director for markets and mergers, Andrea Gomes da Silva, previously said that consumers could encounter “higher prices, less innovation and a lack of real choice” because of the deal.

In November, news surfaced that eBay had taken a large step in its continuing review of what’s working and what has to change as it encounters weak growth in active sellers and pressure on the top-line growth of its core operation. In line with that strategy, the company said on Nov. 25 that it would sell its StubHub ticketing operations to Viagogo for $4 billion.

The marketplace came to the decision to examine selling the ticketing business following the encouragement from two activist investors to exit businesses that weren’t central to its marketplace.

In January, news surfaced that the CMA was probing StubHub as it claimed the site was misleading consumers.

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