Viagogo has proposed selling off StubHub’s businesses outside North America after the UK’s competition watchdog provisionally blocked the $4.05bn (£3bn/€3.4bn) merger between the two resale rivals.
The Swiss company has put forward plans to sell the holding company that operates all its international primary and secondary ticketing businesses, while retaining StubHub’s much larger US and Canadian ticket resale business in an attempt to ease Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) concerns.
The purchaser of StubHub’s operations outside North America would receive customer and transaction data in the UK and beyond. The buyer would be allowed to use the StubHub UK brand for three years, followed by a year-long “blackout” where neither the buyer nor Viagogo could use the StubHub brand in the UK.
Viagogo also pledged that the retained business would be prevented from marketing directly to UK customers and will not carry out search engine marketing on google.co.uk.
The firm said the sale would include the Spain-based Ticketbis, which would “provide the purchaser with an established brand outside the UK, with a longstanding domain history”.
Viagogo assured the CMA that any buyer would not take on liabilities for StubHub’s cancelled events during the pandemic.
The remedy proposal comes after the CMA last month provisionally blocked the merger, which was confirmed in February, citing concerns over “substantial lessening” of competition. As part of its Phase 2 inquiry, the watchdog said it was concerned that the acquisition could lead to increases in fees for customers, including fans, who resell or buy secondary tickets to live events.
It noted that Viagogo and StubHub are close competitors in an already “very concentrated” market with no significant additional competitors, adding that they are the only two companies of material size in the UK’s secondary ticketing market with a combined market share of more than 90 per cent.
A Viagogo spokesperson said: “We look forward to working with the CMA to deliver a comprehensive solution which addresses their concerns and we believe this proposal would achieve that.”