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StubHub Sold by eBay for $4 Billion to Viagogo

Online commerce company eBay has landed a buyer for StubHub, announcing a pact to sell the unit to Viagogo for $4.05 billion in cash — bringing together the world’s two biggest ticket-resale providers.

The deal comes after eBay in March 2019 announced that it was exploring a potential sale of StubHub at the urging of activist investors.

StubHub claims to be the world’s largest ticket marketplace with tickets available for over 10 million live sports, music and theater events in more than 40 countries. EBay acquired StubHub in 2007 for $310 million. Eric Baker, Viagogo’s founder and CEO, also was a co-founder StubHub while in business school, but he left before the sale to eBay.

Viagogo, which Baker launched in 2006, sells tickets in over 70 countries across markets in Europe, Asia, Australia and Latin America.

“It has long been my wish to unite the two companies,” Baker said in a statement. “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.”

Investors in privately held Viagogo include venture-capital firm Index Ventures; Bernard Arnault, CEO of luxury-goods company LVMH; Lord Jacob Rothschild, of the British family banking dynasty; and tennis couple Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf.

Viagogo, based in Geneva, Switzerland, was recently alleged to have misled customers and violated consumer-protection laws by the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority. After Viagogo made changes to its service, including by listing such details as where customers will sit in venues and whether they might be turned away at the door, the regulatory authority suspended its legal action against the company.

Viagogo’s acquisition of StubHub is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2020, subject to regulatory approval and usual closing conditions.

For the third quarter of 2019, eBay reported StubHub platforms revenue of $306 million, up 5% year-over-year. StubHub operating income of $31 million for Q3 was flat versus the year-earlier period.

“We believe this transaction is a great outcome and maximizes long-term value for eBay shareholders,” Scott Schenkel, interim CEO of eBay, said in a statement. After the company’s strategic review process “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.”

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