Viagogo sells StubHub business outside of North America to Digital Fuel Capital, as UK regulator closes merger investigation

Eric Baker, Viagogo founder and CEO

Switzerland-based secondary ticketing company viagogo has sold its StubHub International business – the business outside North America, including in the UK – to Digital Fuel Capital LLC for an undisclosed sum.

The sale was approved by  the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and closed on September 3, after viagogo was forced to sell the business outside of North America due to competition concerns.

viagogo acquired eBay’s ticketing division StubHub for $4.05 billion in cash in February 2020. An investigation carried out by the CMA concluded that the proposed merger between the two firms would “lead to a substantial reduction in competition in the secondary ticketing market in the UK”.

The sale to Digital Fuel Capital LLC now brings the merger investigation to a close, says the CMA.

Founded by President Carson Biederman, Digital Fuel Capital is a Massachusetts-based investment firm focused on the eCommerce market, providing both capital and in-house strategic and operational resources, according to its website.

The company says that its investment strategy is to acquire “leaders in defensible e-commerce segments”.

Digital Fuel’s business portfolio also consists of Artifact Uprising, Boutique Brands, BuyAutoParts, Guild Brands, National Tree Company, Outdoor Adventure Brands, Renovation Brands, RugsUSA, and Seattle Coffee Gear.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority launched a Phase 1 inquiry into viagogo’s proposed $4.05 billion buyout of eBay’s ticketing division StubHub in December 2019.

In June 2020, after completing an initial Phase 1 investigation into the merger, the CMA raised concerns about the loss of competition in the country’s secondary ticketing sector that could be brought about as a result of the merger.

At the time, the CMA said that the merger “could result in [UK-based] customers who buy and resell tickets losing out as a result of higher prices and fewer options”.

“This brings to an end the investigation into the much-anticipated merger of viagogo and StubHub North America, which is now cleared to proceed.”

Cris Miller, viagogo

Cris Miller, Vice President of Business Development, viagogo, said: “We are pleased to confirm a buyer for StubHub International has been approved by the UK Competition and Markets Authority. This brings to an end the investigation into the much-anticipated merger of viagogo and StubHub North America, which is now cleared to proceed.

“We appreciate the CMA’s role in bringing the merger to this conclusion, and we look forward to sharing more details about the integration of the two businesses with our loyal customers and partners very soon.

“As the live events industry emerges from the Coronavirus pandemic, robust competition in the ticketing market is needed more than ever and viagogo will continue to take its’ essential role in the live events industry very seriously.

viagogo and StubHub will always remain committed to working with regulators, while providing safe and secure platforms for people to buy and sell tickets to events all over the world.”Music Business Worldwide