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FanFair Alliance expresses concerns over StubHub International deal

Ticketing campaigners have given a cautious response to the sale of StubHub’s international business to a US private equity firm as Viagogo’s acquisition of StubHub was finally approved by the UK authorities.

Digital Fuel Capital, a Massachusetts-based investment group, gave its first comments on the deal on Wednesday after it was first announced in a statement by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The spinning off of the international business from StubHub’s North American divisions satisfied the regulator’s competition concerns and ended its investigation.

While the split of StubHub into separate entities was enough to placate the CMA, Adam Webb of FanFair Alliance expressed concerns about links between Viagogo founder Eric Baker and Digital Fuel’s founder Carson Biederman as well as how it will seek to operate in a ticketing resale sector that continues to generate concerns over consumer rights.

Webb told TheTicketingBusiness: “As far as we can tell, Digital Fuel Capital has next to no expertise of either international commerce or live event ticketing. Their acquisitions to date include rug companies, online furniture manufacturers and coffee businesses.

“It’s unclear how much Biederman paid to his ex-colleague, whether Digital Fuel Capital has a masterplan to revive StubHub’s faded fortunes, or whether there were alternative bids. Or, indeed, any credible bids whatsoever.

“Ironically, Digital Fuel Capital will now operate in direct competition with Viagogo.”

None of the parties have given any financial details of the deal that led to Digital Fuel’s acquisition of StubHub International. However, Digital Fuel has now commented on receiving the approval of the CMA.

Biederman said in a statement: “We are thrilled to become the new owners of StubHub International. After a long time and process, the teams in London, Madrid, Bilbao and Berlin will now form a new independent company.

“Together, we look forward to growing StubHub International as an agile and competitive ticket marketplace focused on helping fans access live experiences and transfer tickets securely.”

The new independent StubHub International group consists of businesses in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and numerous other markets.

Wayne Grierson, general manager of StubHub International, said: “It is our mission to help fans access incredible experiences. We are excited to become independent, as we help fans return to concerts, theatres and stadiums.”