Viagogo has bought rival StubHub from eBay for $4.05bn in the resale market’s biggest ever deal.
The deal, announced by Viagogo, comes shortly after eBay said it would soon make a decision about the future of its ticketing subsidiary. The sale is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2020, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.
Eric Baker, Viagogo’s founder and CEO, also co-founded StubHub while in business school, but left before the business was sold to eBay for $310m in 2007.
Viagogo said the deal will unite the two businesses which “share the same fundamental principle of providing a secure platform for people to buy and sell tickets to live events”.
“Buyers will have a wider choice of tickets, and sellers will have a wider network of buyers. Bringing these two companies together creates a win-win for fans – more choice and better pricing,” said Baker.
“It has long been my wish to unite the two companies. I am so proud of how StubHub has grown over the years and excited about the possibilities for our shared future.”
In its own statement, eBay explained the rationale for the deal for both StubHub and Viagogo, and why it would be beneficial for the sector.
“Combined, these complementary marketplaces will sell hundreds of thousands of tickets daily across more than 70 countries, giving fans seamless access to a wider selection of inventory around the world, while sellers, teams and artists will have the ability to more effectively reach a broader global audience,” eBay said.
Scott Schenkel, interim chief executive officer of eBay Inc, said: “We believe this transaction is a great outcome and maximizes long-term value for eBay shareholders.
“Over the past several months, eBay’s leadership team and Board of Directors have been engaged in a thorough review of our current strategies and portfolio, and we concluded that this was the best path forward for both eBay and StubHub. We firmly believe in the StubHub business and we are excited about its future growth potential with viagogo as its owner.”
eBay announced in March 2019 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. Vivid Seats was among the group’s believed to be in talks with eBay about a deal.
Just recently eBay, which was advised by Goldman Sachs over the deal, said it would make a decision on a possible sale by the early part of 2020. The announcement came as part of its Q3 results, in which StubHub drove revenue of $306m for the three months to September 30, up five per cent.
“Bringing StubHub and viagogo together will allow us to drive further expansion and innovation, and create a more competitive offering for live event fans globally,” said Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, president of StubHub. “This provides a great opportunity to expand our business, pursue new partnerships and execute our strategy. We expect a seamless transition for all our employees, partners and customers, and we are excited for what the future holds.”