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Whispers over potential Vivid Seats-StubHub merger get louder

Live entertainment consultant Eric Fuller has added to the growing speculation over Vivid Seats’ mooted purchase of StubHub after outlining the ramifications for the resale sector of a potential deal.

Last month, eBay said it would reveal its decision on the potential sale of StubHub in January. The announcement came as part of its Q3 results, in which its StubHub division drove revenue of $306m for the three months to September 30, up five per cent.

The online e-commerce giant announced in March it would commence a strategic review of the company’s assets, including StubHub and its classifieds, following pressure from investors Elliott Management and Starboard Value.

In July, CNBC cited sources who said there are “multiple” parties interested in buying StubHub, with Vivid Seats resting on the lips of many industry insiders.

Now, with a potential disposal of StubHub imminent, Fullatickets founder and pioneering ticket broker Fuller has outlined his reasons for believing a deal could be progressing.

He goes on to speculate about the impact of such a merger, stating that it would result in a combined Vivid/StubHub and Live Nation being the only two major players in the US ticketing resale industry.

StubHub is currently the largest ticket seller, with annual sales revenue in excess of $5bn, while Live Nation is likely in second with sales close to $2.5bn and Vivid in third at approximately $2bn in annual sales, according to Fuller.

He said: “If Vivid and StubHub would combine, in a rare number one plus number three deal, they would have approximately 65% of the market, allowing for my estimates of the volume for the remaining players: SeatGeek, Ticket Network, TickPick and GameTime.”

The industry veteran also notes that the deal would likely cause some controversy and opposition, as well as face an extensive review, similar in scale to that of Live Nation and Ticketmaster merger ten years ago.

“If Vivid buys StubHub, I would look to the airline industry to predict next steps for the ticket brokers. Once the airline industry deregulated, it promptly consolidated,” Fuller added.

He continued: “I predict that if Vivid and StubHub were to merge, we would see a complete upending of the way inventory is made available.

“In a post-merger world, the path to success will be unique inventory.”

Meanwhile, yesterday (Wednesday), the Indianapolis Colts NFL American football franchise name Vivid Seats as its official fan experience partner.