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EBay to sell StubHub to Viagogo for about $4 billion in cash

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Via CNBC

EBay announced plans Monday to sell StubHub to Swiss ticket vendor Viagogo for $4.05 billion in cash.

The sale is expected to close by the end of the first quarter, subject to regulatory approval and customary conditions.

Ebay shares rose 1% on the news.

Viagogo CEO Eric Baker co-founded StubHub while in business school. He left before the ticket-selling company was sold to eBay for $310 million in 2007 because of “differences” with his partner, Baker said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”

After leaving StubHub, Baker remained a shareholder but was not able to dictate the sale of the company to eBay.

“If it was up to me I wouldn’t have to buy it back because I never would have sold it, but everything worked out in the end,” Baker said.

Baker said he had been thinking about this for some time. “The opportunity to combine the two and have true global coverage just made too much sense,” he said.

“Eric clearly sees strong opportunity for the two businesses. He founded StubHub 19 years ago and feels so passionately about the business that he organized his people and the financial resources to buy it back. He is all in, which is fantastic for the company going forward,” a spokesperson for StubHub said in a statement.

When combined, StubHub and Viagogo will sell tickets across more than 70 countries, “giving fans seamless access to a wider selection of inventory around the world, while sellers, teams and artists will have the ability to more effectively reach a broader global audience,” the announcement said.

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The companies are likely to operate independently for some time while executives examine the best way to integrate the businesses, representatives for eBay and Viagogo told CNBC.

“The combined company will allow StubHub and Viagogo to realize efficiencies to reinvest in innovation,” the eBay spokesperson said.

No leadership changes are planned, according to the companies.

Baker did not clearly outline how the company will pay the $4.05 billion cash price tag. Viagogo currently has committed debt financing from J.P. Morgan, CNBC’s David Faber reported.

EBay’s proceeds from the deal will be put toward stock buybacks, dividends and M&A investing, interim CEO Scott Schenkel told Faber.

Faber reported in July that eBay was moving forward with a potential sale of StubHub. The news followed eBay’s announcement on March 1 that it was conducting a strategic portfolio review.

“Over the past several months, eBay’s leadership team and Board of Directors have been engaged in a thorough review of our current strategies and portfolio, and we concluded that this was the best path forward for both eBay and StubHub,” Schenkel said in Monday’s release.

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report the deal on Monday.


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