June 11, 2020 / 1:12 PM / 2 months ago

UK competition watchdog gives Viagogo, StubHub time to allay concerns

(Reuters) - Ticket reseller Viagogo has a week’s time to submit proposals addressing competition concerns over its $4.05 billion deal for the ticketing unit of U.S. e-commerce company eBay Inc (EBAY.O), UK’s competition watchdog said on Thursday.

The deal, announced in November 2019, will provide Viagogo and the eBay unit, StubHub, a market share of over 80% of UK's secondary ticketing market, and customers could lose out as a result of higher prices in particular and fewer options, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said in a statement bit.ly/2zrgWeE.

The CMA said an initial probe, launched in April, found that Viagogo and StubHub were “close competitors in an already very concentrated market with limited alternatives” after looking into evidence from third parties and the companies’ internal documents.

Viagogo will continue to work with the CMA during its review, the company said in an e-mailed statement, adding that it believed the combination is a “good move for customers worldwide”.

The regulator said it may move the probe to an in-depth investigation if the companies failed to offer an undertaking over its concerns by June 18.

The CMA also said it had so far not seen evidence that Viagogo or StubHub would be more adversely affected by the pause on live events due to the coronavirus crisis compared to other companies.

Ebay did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The regulator earlier this year had ordered StubHub to make changes to its British website after it was found to be misleading people about ticket availability, just months after Viagogo was pulled up for similar violations. (reut.rs/3dWp0ms)

Reporting by Shanima A and Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Sriraj Kalluvila

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