EnterpriseMerger and acquisition

Chinese Firm Ctrip Snaps-Up Scotland’s Skyscanner For £1.4bn

Duncan MacRae is former editor and now a contributor to TechWeekEurope. He previously edited Computer Business Review's print/digital magazines and CBR Online, as well as Arabian Computer News in the UAE.

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UK startup gets acquired by Chinese travel giant

Chinese travel agent Ctrip has agreed a deal to acquire Edinburgh-based travel search engine, Skyscanner.

Ctrip.com International is a travel service provider of accommodation reservations, transportation ticketing, packaged tours and corporate travel management in China.

£1.4 billion agreement

The deal worth £1.4 billion has been signed as a definitive agreement with the majority shareholders of Skyscanner Holdings, under which it will acquire all of such shareholders’ shares in the company and will offer to acquire shares from the remaining shareholders of Skyscanner.

Skyscanner’s current management team will continue to manage Skyscanner’s operations independently as part of the Ctrip group.

“Ctrip and Skyscanner share the same passion and dedication in providing travelers around the world with better services. This acquisition will strengthen long-term growth drivers for both companies,” said James Jianzhang Liang, co-founder and executive chairman of Ctrip.

“Skyscanner will complement our positioning at a global scale and Ctrip will leverage our experience, technology and booking capabilities to Skyscanner’s.”

gareth-williams-skyscanner-ceoGareth Williams, co-founder and CEO of Skyscanner described Ctrip as the clear market leader in China and a company Skyscanner “can learn a huge amount from”.

He added that the deal takes Skyscanner one step closer to its goal of making travel search as simple as possible for travellers around the world.

He said: “Ctrip and Skyscanner share a common view – that organising travel has a long way to go to being solved. To do so requires powerful technology and a traveller-first approach.

“In taking the next step to achieving our goal, Skyscanner will remain operationally independent and our growing global team will continue to innovate and deliver the products travellers know and love. It’s an exciting time for our business, our partners and the travellers who use us.”

Skyscanner was founded by three IT professionals in 2001 after one of them was left frustrated in his search for cheap flights to ski resorts.

The company has grown from strength to strength over the years, helped by acquisitions of other travel search companies, including Chinese travel search engine Youbibi in 2014.

Skyscanner currently receives around 60 million visitors per month and has an annual turnover of £120 million.

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