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Viagogo Could be Forced into Stubhub Sale Following Competition Ruling

Ross Kelly

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Viagogo

Viagogo’s acquisition of Stubhub this year sparks concerns over a monopoly in the ticket reselling space.

An investigation by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) has found that the Viagogo’s acquisition of Stubhub will reduce competition.

A probe by the regulator found Viagogo and Stubhub are “close competitors in an already very concentrated market” that includes no significant competitors.

The CMA revealed it has set out options for addressing competition concerns, which includes forcing Viagogo to sell “all or part” of Stubhub.

Combined, Stubhub and Viagogo control a market share of more than 90% in the secondary ticketing market, the CMA said.

Stubhub was acquired by Viagogo in February this year as part of a £3 billion deal. Speaking at the time, Viagogo Founder and CEO Steve Baker insisted the merger would provide a “greater range of options”.

“Buyers will have a wider choice of tickets, and seller will have a wider network of buyers,” Baker said.

“Bringing these two companies together creates a win-win for fans – more choice and better pricing,” he added.

As part of its investigation, the CMA said it analysed a “wide range of evidence” on how the two firms compete. This included examining how resellers use both platforms, as well as the prices and fees charged for resold tickets.

The CMA raised concerns that the merger could lead to an increase in fees for customers and fans who resell tickets to live events.

“The CMA also found that the merger could result in a lower quality of service and reduced innovation in the sector,” the watchdog said in a statement.

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Stuart McIntosh, Chair of the CMA inquiry group, said the regulator is exploring all possible options following the investigation.

“The evidence we’ve seen so far consistently points in the same direction – that Viagogo and Stubhub have a market share of more than 90% combined and compete closely with each other,” he said.

“We are therefore concerned that their merger could lead to secondary ticketing customers facing higher fees and lower quality services. We’re now inviting comments on our provisional findings and possible remedies,” McIntosh added.

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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