The UK's Competition And Markets Authority (CMA) has referred Viagogo's acquisition of StubHub for an in-depth investigation over competition concerns.
The watchdog, which launched a Phase 1 inquiry into the deal back in April, has taken the action following fears the $4.05 billion deal could result in a "substantial lessening of competition" within the UK secondary ticketing market.
The companies have combined market share of more than 80% of the resale market.
Earlier this month, Andrea Gomes da Silva, CMA’s executive director for markets and mergers said: "Viagogo is already the largest secondary ticketing company in the UK by some considerable margin and has purchased an established rival, with no other significant competitors in the market. We are therefore concerned that this transaction could lead to customers losing out through higher prices, less innovation and a lack of real choice."
A Viagogo spokesperson said: “As we have throughout this process, we will continue to work diligently with the CMA during their review of the transaction. We remain committed to our belief that the combination of the two companies is a good move for customers worldwide.”
But Adam Webb, campaign manager for anti-touting campaign group FanFair Alliance, claimed the deal raised "acute" competition concerns, particularly in the UK.
"Earlier this month, Viagogo was required to deliver a clear-cut solution to address these concerns," he said. "They have failed to do this. FanFair Alliance therefore welcomes the CMA’s decision to refer the merger for an in-depth investigation."