Viagogo's acquisition of StubHub 'raises concerns', CMA says

Viagogo’s purchase of StubHub raises competition concerns in the online secondary ticketing market in the UK, the competitions watchdog has found.

The Proclaimers recently hit out at secondary ticketing sites like Viagogo and StubHub.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is concerned that the loss of competition brought about by the merger could result in customers who buy and resell tickets losing out as a result of “higher prices and fewer options”.

Viagogo and StubHub are the UK’s two largest secondary ticketing firms and hold more than 80 per cent of the country’s market share, the CMA said.

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The CMA said it believes the limited number of alternatives in the market raises concerns that “the merger would raise the prices for customers, including fans, who resell and buy secondary tickets”.

Andrea Gomes da Silva, CMA's executive director for markets and mergers, said: "Viagogo is already the largest secondary ticketing company in the UK by some considerable margin and has purchased an established rival, with no other significant competitors in the market."We are therefore concerned that this transaction could lead to customers losing out through higher prices, less innovation and a lack of real choice."

The acquisition took place last year, when Viagogo founder Eric Baker acquired StubHub for £3.15 billion - more than a decade after it was sold to eBay. Baker also co-founded StubHub while in business school at Stanford University in the US, but left before the business was sold to eBay for $310m in 2007.

Baker created Viagogo, which operates in over 70 countries, in 2006.

The firm last year came under fire from MPs, who took the unusual step of urging consumers to boycott the site. Westminster’s digital, culture, media and sport select committee criticised Viagogo for “misleading” consumers, many of whom found the site through paid-for ads on Google.

In September, the Competitions and Markets Authority said it would suspend court action against Viagogo after it addressed the CMA’s outstanding concerns about how it presents important information to its customers - but said it would not rule out further action in future.

A Viagogo spokeswoman said: “As we have throughout this process, we will continue to work diligently with the CMA during their review of the transaction.”

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