Founder Re-Acquires StubHub

In my book Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism, I praise project entrepreneurs for having as their main goal, not wealth or fame, but making a ding in the universe (to use Steve Jobs’s phrase). I also suggest that they are more likely to succeed, in part because they are more likely to stick with the venture they founded. But there may be exceptions to my narrative. Eric Baker sounds like a project entrepreneur who left his start-up because of conflicts with his co-founder, and who now is back in charge.

(p. B4) Eric Baker long envisioned bringing together the two ticketing companies he started.

This week eBay Inc. agreed to sell its StubHub unit, a business Mr. Baker launched nearly two decades ago, to Geneva-based Viagogo Entertainment Inc., the ticketing firm with a large European presence he has been running since 2006.

The $4.05 billion all-cash deal would create a global ticketing juggernaut in the booming business of live events. It would also put StubHub back in the hands of the person who early on saw the opportunity in the legitimate resale of tickets.

. . .

“You had to pay through the nose or find people on the street corner to purchase from,” says Mr. Baker. He felt there had to be a better, more efficient way to find tickets and imagined that could happen online.

He headed to Stanford Graduate School of Business that fall and, together with classmate Jeff Fluhr, started StubHub—then called Liquid Seats—in 2000.

. . .

Mr. Baker and Mr. Fluhr—who was chief executive and had majority ownership of the company—had their differences, and in 2004 Mr. Baker left at the board’s direction, said people familiar with the decision.

. . .

When eBay bought StubHub in 2007, Mr. Baker says he opposed the deal. “It’s rare you have the opportunity to have a business like that,” he says. “To me, you try to hold on to something that’s working.”

For the full story, see:

Anne Steele. “StubHub Acquisition Puts Co-Founder Back in Charge.” The Wall Street Journal (Monday, December 2, 2019): B4.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date November 29, 2019, and has the title “The Tale Behind StubHub’s Sale: How Eric Baker Bought Back the Ticket Seller.”)

My book, mentioned above, is:

Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

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