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UK watchdog approves Viagogo’s StubHub takeover

Viagogo has been given the green light to complete its takeover of StubHub after a deal was agreed for the sale of the latter’s international business to a venture capital group.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regulator said it has now brought its merger investigation to an end after approving the purchase of the Stubhub International Business by US-headquartered investment firm Digital Fuel LLC.

The CMA announcement comes almost two years after the $4.05bn acquisition was agreed between resale giant Viagogo and StubHub’s former owner, eBay, in November 2019. After rejecting the deal over competition concerns, the CMA earlier this year said the deal could be completed if StubHub’s international business was sold.

Cris Miller, Viagogo’s vice president of business development, welcomed the CMA decision and said the acquisition would be advantageous for consumers as the live events industry rebounds following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Miller said: “We are pleased to confirm a buyer for StubHub International has been approved by the UK Competition and Markets Authority. This brings to an end the investigation into the much-anticipated merger of viagogo and StubHub North America, which is now cleared to proceed.

“We appreciate the CMA’s role in bringing the merger to this conclusion, and we look forward to sharing more details about the integration of the two businesses with our loyal customers and partners very soon.

“As the live events industry emerges from the Coronavirus pandemic, robust competition in the ticketing market is needed more than ever and viagogo will continue to take its’ essential role in the live events industry very seriously. viagogo and StubHub will always remain committed to working with regulators, while providing safe and secure platforms for people to buy and sell tickets to events all over the world.”

Details of the Digital Fuel acquisition of StubHub’s international business have not yet been released by either the Massachusetts-based firm or the other involved parties. Digital Fuel is an investment house focussed on eCommerce, whose brands include Artifact Uprising, Boutique Brands, BuyAutoParts and Seattle Coffee Gear.

It says that its investment strategy is to “acquire leaders in defensible e-commerce segments and to support its portfolio companies in optimizing their businesses through a combination of internal resources, collaboration amongst portfolio companies and strategic relationships with best-in-class partners”.

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