The United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority has announced that it will be investigating the proposed sale of StubHub to Viagogo, looking at whether or not the deal will lead to “a substantial lessening of competition” in ticket selling, according to multiple outlets.
Announced on December 13, the competition agency is inviting public comment via its website through January 10.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.
Viagogo has a lengthy history with the CMA, having sparred with the regulator over disclosure language on its website in the past. The Switzerland-based reseller was even sued by the regulator, but those actions were halted after it “addressed its outstanding concerns” in the early fall of this year.
Foes of Viagogo, including a loud music industry lobby, have rested their hopes of blocking the planned $4 billion transaction on the regulator and resale company’s rocky history. Fan Fair Alliance, long a foe of Viagogo in favor of industry-led face-value resale operation Twickets, filed a formal complaint with the CMA after the sale was announced. The ticket resale business in the UK has changed drastically in recent years, with Ticketmaster closing down its Seatwave and GetMeIn resale platforms, leaving StubHub and Viagogo as the two remaining large-scale resale marketplaces. Because of that, Fan Fair Alliance representatives argue, the purchase of one by the other would lead to a monopoly in secondary ticketing.
In response, Viagogo issued a statement to TicketNews welcoming the inquiry and characterizing the action as expected.
“Viagogo expects the market regulator to look at this deal as they would with any deal of this size, and we will be working with them collaboratively on that as required.”