eBay buys Spain’s Ticketbis for $165M to expand StubHub into Europe, Latin America, Asia

While EBay continues to build out its core marketplace for physical goods, it’s also investing to expand its other businesses and brands, too. Today the company announced that it has acquired Ticketbis, an online ticket marketplace based out of Bilbao, which it plans to roll into StubHub, its own ticket marketplace. The deal will expand StubHub outside of its existing core U.S. base into 47 more markets, specifically with an emphasis on Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed but sources close to the company tell us it was a $165 million transaction. The deal is expected to close mid-2016.

The $165 million price tag is a decent return for Ticketbis. The startup had raised just under $26 million, with investors including Fabrice Grinda, Active Venture Partners and Jose Marin. We understand it had projected a run rate of $45 million for 2016 after revenues of $25 million in 2015. It employs some 400 employees globally.

StubHub has come up in the news lately for slightly more controversial reasons. There have bee allegations that there are not enough checks on the site for sales of fake tickets. And separately, in the UK, StubHub along with other secondary ticketing sites, are being investigated for breaking the law — specifically for failing to provide the face value for many tickets that have been listed and sold on the site.

It will be interesting to see how and if having a larger organization will impact issues like these, but for now, it looks like the main name of the game is scale — always a basic premise of any e-commerce business.

“In a world where the richest moments in life are becoming less about the things people have and more about the experiences they have to share, the acquisition of Ticketbis will allow us to connect millions more people with inspiring events,” said Scott Cutler, President of StubHub, in a statement. “The only boundary to an incredible experience is access, and this acquisition will enable StubHub to offer more events on a global basis to fans and event-goers around the world, and to help them discover new ways to enrich their lives.”

“The acquisition of Ticketbis will enable us to significantly scale StubHub’s international footprint,” added Devin Wenig, President and CEO of eBay Inc. “eBay’s global presence will help StubHub acquire new customers as it expands into markets outside of the U.S. This deal reaffirms our commitment to investing in StubHub and helping fuel its momentum.”

“StubHub’s extensive assets will add tremendous value for ticketing patrons and sellers worldwide, especially as we continue our expansion into nascent markets,” said Ander Michelena, co-founder of Ticketbis and one of its two CEOs (the other is the other co-founder, Jon Uriarte). “Together, the StubHub and Ticketbis marketplaces represent tremendous value and opportunity for fans around the world to experience the events they love, whenever and wherever they are. We are thrilled to be a part of the eBay family, and we look forward to continuing our innovation in ticketing as part of the StubHub brand.”

StubHub itself was acquired by eBay in 2007 for $310 million. Its sales are only a fraction of eBay’s bigger business but it is growing. In the last quarter, eBay reported $20.5 billion in quarterly gross merchandise volume (GMV) — the total value of transactions on its platforms. While the majority came from its eBay.com site, StubHub accounted for $869 million in GMV and  $177 million in revenue, up 34% increase on a year ago.

More to come.