Viagogo-StubHub merger in clear after sale of StubHub Int'l

By Bret McCormick

Digital Fuel Capital LLC has purchased StubHub International’s collection of 23 businesses, paving the way for viagogo to finally complete its acquisition of StubHub North America and merge the two ticketing giants. The international business sale was the last step in appeasing the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which had stalled the viagogo-StubHub deal since April '20 over anti-competition concerns. Viagogo agreed to buy StubHub from eBay in November '19 for $4.05B, a triumphant transaction for viagogo founder Eric Baker, who co-founded StubHub before being forced out. The deal closed just as the pandemic shut down the U.S. and Europe in March '20, and the CMA initiated its investigation into the deal a month later, preventing viagogo and StubHub from communicating and leaving both in stasis during a brutal year for the live events ticketing industry.

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE: The CMA in February determined the merger could go through if the StubHub International businesses -- a collection of ticketing platforms scattered throughout Europe and Latin America -- were divested. Newton, Mass.-based Digital Fuel Capital completed its purchase of those businesses for an undisclosed price on Sept. 3. Digital Fuel’s investing focuses on eCommerce and includes brands in fashion, auto parts, seasonal decorations, home decor, and home brewed coffee products. Viagogo and StubHub can now commence their combination in earnest, which needs to happen quickly given the financial and reputational damage StubHub has suffered during the last year-plus. Secondary ticketing market data from Logitix indicated that between Aug. '19 and Aug. '21, StubHub lost nearly 13% of its market share. Viagogo VP/Business Development Cris Miller said in a statement, "We look forward to sharing more details about the integration of the two businesses with our loyal customers and partners very soon."

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