Viagogo completes acquisition of StubHub

Just days after a UK regulatory authority ordered Viagogo and StubHub to pause merger integration efforts, the $4.05bn deal has now closed. 

The all-cash union of ticket resale marketplaces, first announced in November, seeks to create a dominant player in global sports and entertainment ticketing. The deal also reunites Viagogo chief executive Eric Baker with the StubHub that he co-founded before starting the Swiss-based Viagogo in 2006. 

The UK Competition and Markets Authority had said earlier this week the companies were essentially jumping the gun in starting merger integrations, and issued an enforcement order to refrain from further blending of the businesses. But final signoff on the deal has now arrived.

The $4.05bn price Viagogo is paying for StubHub is a nearly 400-per-cent premium on the roughly $1.2bn in revenue StubHub generates annually. And with the extra cash in hand from Viagogo, former StubHub parent company eBay has dramatically ramped up its stock buyback plans for the year, tripling its 2020 projection in that area from $1.5bn to $4.5bn.

EBay had been under substantial activist shareholder pressure to sell StubHub for more than a year.

“The completed sale of StubHub to Viagogo is a great outcome both in terms of the $4.05bn sale price and the potential StubHub has with its new owner,” said Scott Schenkel, eBay interim chief executive. “The StubHub transaction reinforces our commitment to creating shareholder value and is consistent with other steps we have taken such as margin improvement, share buybacks, and issuing dividends.

“We are operating with discipline and focus, improving financial performance, and delivering improved customer experiences. On behalf of the eBay team, we’re excited to see how StubHub evolves in its next phase and benefits fans, partners, and employees,” Schenkel said.

Viagogo intends to maintain the StubHub brand, a powerful one particularly in the US, as well as its headquarters in San Francisco, California. Viagogo said in a statement, “These two complementary marketplaces will sell hundreds of thousands of tickets daily across more than 70 countries, giving fans seamless access to a wider selection of event tickets around the world, while sellers, teams, and artists will have the ability to reach new audiences. This provides a huge opportunity to consumers, who will have access to more competitive pricing and broader offerings.”