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The move comes as the secondary ticketing website faces increased pressure from multiple investigations into its European operations
By Molly Long on 29 Aug 2018
Viagogo is reportedly preparing to relocate much of its UK workforce to New York, British newspaper the Guardian reports. The move to “explore US expansion” comes as the company faces multiple investigations into its operations across Europe.
Viagogo has faced staunch criticism in the UK in recent months, with digital minister Margot James calling for a boycott of the company. Beyond this, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) warned back in April it could face legal action for breaches of consumer law and shortly after, National Trading Standards launched a separate investigation into the company’s “misleading” pricing strategies.
Speaking to the Guardian, a source familiar with the developments has said many senior London-based staff were notified of the relocation plans back in May. “Several senior developers have already relocated,” the source says. “A few others are moving in the next couple of months, and others are leaving very soon.”
The relocation appears to be part of a plan to explore US expansion. Whilst ticket touting has attracted criticism across much of Europe, the response in the US has been significantly less heated. The company also has its roots in the US; before Viagogo, Eric Baker, founder and CEO, co-founded ticket resale website StubHub in the US in 2000.
“Several senior developers have already relocated”
The US can also provide the company with a new level of privacy. Ticket touts speaking to the Guardian have revealed payments from Viagogo have started being sent from Viagogo Entertainment Inc, rather that its Swiss headquarters, Viagogo AG. The new business is registered in Delaware, a state known for its financial secrecy.
According to the UK’s Companies House filings from last year, around 100 staff worked at Viagogo offices on London’s Fenchurch Street. It is thought that the potential relocation of these staff members will not have an effect on the CMA and Trading Standards investigations.
It may, however, make things difficult for MPs looking to convince Viagogo execs to sit before a select committee hearing next month. The company has already refused to attend a hearing once before.
Outside of the UK, Viagogo faces action in Germany, France, Spain and Switzerland, as well as New Zealand and Australia. With criticism of secondary ticketing websites escalating, Ticketmaster revealed this month that it would be closing down its own resale websites, Get Me In! and Seatwave.
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