Touring

StubHub Clears Final Hurdle of Viagogo Merger With Sale of Non-U.S. Assets

Concert Audience Crowd Atmosphere
lisegagne/Getty Images

After 18 months, the ticket reseller finds a buyer -- Digital Fuel Capital of Boston -- for its non-U.S. assets, satisfying a critical demand of British regulators.

After nearly 22 months of back and forth with regulators from the Competition and Markets Authority, Viagogo has finally been able to clear the last hurdle to its $4 billion merger with StubHub, creating the world's largest ticketing resale company.

That obstacle was StubHub's sale of its international ticket resale operation to Boston private equity firm Digital Fuel Capital, run by former Bain Capital executive Carson Biederman, who also serves as the managing partner for the Mustang Group, a PE firm whose principal is Digital Fuel vp Stephen Owen. Digital Fuel Capital invests in mid-market e-commerce businesses selling everything from women's fashion to artificial Christmas trees, according to its website. Mustang Group has focused on more niche, owner-operator brands like The Vermont Teddy Bear Company and Pajamajeans.

The sale ends a period of government-imposed silence between the two firms, which were allowed to communicate while the agreement worked its ways through the U.K. regulator system.

"We are finally allowed to collaborate and begin planning the integration between the two companies," says Jill Krimmel, StubHub’s interim president who said she will stay on as president once the integration is complete.

That process couldn't begin until the sale of StubHub's international business was completed. It's unclear how much Digital Fuel Capital paid for the international assets, which include 23 companies and limited liability corporations held by StubHub including its branded marketplaces in the U.K., Germany, Taiwan and parts of Europe through its Luxembourg corporation StubHub Europe S.a.r.l.; 11 companies including Ticketbis and Eventbis covering Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Columbia and Argentina, and entities covering South Korea, Japan and Australia.

Nearly all of the deal terms were agreed to in advance by the CMA and Viagogo, according to an April 9 report from the CMA.

The sale covers "the entirety of the shares" held in all 23 companies as well as the transfer of the StubHub platform for each company. Digital Fuel has the right to exclusively license the StubHub name for international use for up to ten years and buy or indefinitely lease StubHub's remaining intellectual property (like the Ticketbis name).

Digital Fuel Capital will also receive all active StubHub listings outside of North America as part of the deal, along with "all User Data, Transaction Data and Associated Listings" of International buyers and sellers, according to the CMA rules covering the sale.

In a release issued early today, StubHub co-founder and current StubHub/Viagogo chief executive Eric Baker said "We are excited to move forward with StubHub as one company and embrace a fan-first approach in live event ticketing,," adding "we appreciate the Competition and Markets Authority’s partnership in finalizing this transaction and their dedication to preserving a competitive, transparent and secure secondary ticket industry for fans."