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British Regulator Gives Nod to $4B Viagogo/StubHub Combination

The U.K.’s competition watchdog says it will allow the ticket resale websites Viagogo and StubHub to proceed with a $4 billion (£2.9 billion) merger.

According to The Guardian, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) approved a plan that will see StubHub’s international operations sold to an American investment group called Digital Fuel Capital for an undisclosed fee.

The CMA had ordered Viagogo in February to sell off StubHub’s international business in February, concluding that the merger would “lead to a substantial reduction in competition in the secondary ticketing market” in the United Kingdom. “This could lead to customers who use secondary ticketing platforms facing higher fees or poorer service in [the] future.”

Read more: UK Antitrust Agency Orders Viagogo to Divest Chunk of StubHub Operations

Cris Miller, the vice president of business development at Viagogo, thanked the CMA for bringing the merger to a close.

“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,” Miller said. “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.”

Both companies have come under CMA scrutiny in the past due to concerns about customers being misled, per The Guardian’s report. The story also notes that Forbes had called the merger “the worst deal in history” due to the CMA’s involvement and because it came about just as COVID-19 put a stop to live events.

Read more: Some StubHub Customers Getting Cash Refunds

StubHub in May announced it was reversing its no-refunds policy and would repay some customers for events that were canceled due to the pandemic.

The company had instituted the policy in the early days of the pandemic and had initially planned to give ticket holders credit for a future event in lieu of refunds. That was before customers sued StubHub, demanding cash refunds for canceled events.

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