Secondary ticketing business Viagogo has announced the acquisition of rival service, StubHub, for a fee of £3.1 billion.
The deal will see StubHub come back under the control of Eric Baker, founder and CEO of Viagogo. Baker founded StubHub in 2000, however, he left the company just before it was acquired by eBay for £240 million seven years later.
Pending regulatory approval, the StubHub sale is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2020.
Commenting on the deal, Baker said: “It has long been my wish to unite the two companies. I am so proud of how StubHub has grown over the years and excited about the possibilities for our shared futures.”
Baker insisted the merger will provide customers with a greater range of options through Viagogo, which boasts customers in more than 70 countries globally.
He said: “Buyers will have a wider choice of tickets, and sellers will have a wider network of buyers. Bringing these two companies together creates a win-win for fans – more choice and better pricing.”
Scott Schenkel, interim chief executive at eBay, said: “Over the past several months, eBay’s leadership team and board of directors have been engaged in a thorough review of our current strategies and portfolio, and we concluded that this was the best path forward for both eBay and StubHub.
“We firmly believe in the StubHub business and we are excited about its future growth potential with Viagogo as its owner.”
Viagogo has been no stranger to controversy in recent years. The ticket reselling website has been subject to intense criticism for its often inflated ticket prices.
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Earlier this year, the firm changed the way it advertises tickets after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) asked reselling sites to provide more detailed information for customers, such as the type of ticket one would receive as well as the availability of seats.
Speaking in September, CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said: “The Viagogo website UK customers now visit is worlds apart from the one they faced before the CMA took action.
“Key information needed to make informed decisions before buying a ticket is now much clearer, including on where you’ll sit in a venue and whether you might be turned away at the door.”
Despite making changes to the way it displays tickets, many customers have still complained about paying ‘rip-off’ fees which are often hundreds of pounds more expensive than the original selling price.