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eBay to Buy StubHub for $310 Million

Online auction and merchandizing giant eBay want to expand its presence in the online ticket marketplace, so it’s agreed to acquire the privately-held StubHub for some $310 million—cash up front.

“StubHub has been extremely successful in the online tickets segment, and it’s a perfect complement to eBay’s tickets business,” said Bill Cobb, eBay’s president for North America Marketplaces. “Together we can strengthen both businesses and provide fans with more choice and better service.”

StubHub started its life in San Francisco in 2000 at the tail end of the dot-com era; it let fans buy and resell tickets to sports events, concerts, theater, and pretty much any other entertainment event which did ticketing. Unlike most other online marketplaces, StubHub stayed focused exclusively on tickets, rather than following the temptation to expand out into merchandise, memorabilia, and other items; the site’s customer service, intolerance for scalping, and satisfaction guarantees led to the company forming partnerships with professional sports teams, NCAA sports programs, and major media outlets like AOL, and emerging as the leading independent broker for ticket sales—in fact, eBay was StubHhub’s largest competitor, and the auction giant previous made moved to acquire the company as early as 2002, but a deal couldn’t be worked out.

StubHub handled more than $400 million in ticket sales during 2006.