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What You Should Know About Viagogo, The Company That Just Bought StubHub

Dave Royse

Online ticket marketplace StubHub is being sold by eBay Inc (NASDAQ: EBAY) to the Swiss online ticket resale platform Viagogo for just over $4 billion in cash, eBay announced Monday. 

Viagogo, a big player in Europe and Britain in online ticket sales, was founded in 2006 by American Eric Baker, who was also co-founder of StubHub. In 2007, eBay bought StubHub in 2007 for $310 million. Baker remains the CEO of Viagogo.

At its launch, the company drew attention by partnering with some of the big English soccer clubs to allow match ticket resales, which had been difficult before. Chelsea and Manchester United PLC (NYSE: MANU) were among its partners. 

See Also: EBay Sells StubHub For B

Viagogo's Controversial Past

The company has drawn criticism: some music acts have complained about inflated prices for tickets sold on Viagogo, and at least one performer, Ed Sheeran, wouldn't honor tickets sold on the site. Last March, a group of members of Parliament in Britain warned people not to use the site.

The company reached an agreement with the British Competitions and Markets Authority in 2018 over accusations it was declining to follow British transparency requirements for online ticket sellers. Viagogo agreed to follow the rules, including disclosing certain risks and more details about the tickets and how to get refunds, as part of the settlement.

Alphabet Inc.'s (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google suspended Viagogo as an advertiser in July of this year over the prices of the tickets sold on the site. Viagogo's U.K. website saw traffic drop from 4.5 million visitors in June to 2.5 million after the ban, according to SimilarWeb.

Viagogo has worked with Google in recent months to address the concerns, and the ticket seller "has returned to its traditional relationship with Google," a Viagogo spokeswoman told Benzinga Tuesday. 

While Viagogo was started in England, its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.

Shares of eBay were trading 1.24% higher at $35.56 at the time of publication Monday. 


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