Edinburgh-based travel tech unicorn, Skyscanner, is to be acquired by NASDAQ listed travel company Ctrip.
Ctrip and the majority stakeholders of Skyscanner have reached a definitive agreement, valuing the Scottish growth company at approximately £1.4 billion. The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to complete by the end of 2016. Skyscanner’s current management team will continue to manage Skyscanner’s operations independently as part of the Ctrip group.
According to Calum Paterson, managing partner of Skyscanner’s largest shareholder, Scottish Equity Partners (SEP), Skyscanner is poised to extend its global reach with this deal. “Ctrip is the ideal partner to enable the company to extend its global reach, grow even more rapidly and continue to deliver a fantastic product that is greatly admired by travellers across the world. We are particularly pleased that Skyscanner will continue to be headquartered in Edinburgh and to operate independently,” he said.
Commenting on the acquisition of what has rapidly grown into one of the world’s largest travel search platforms in the world, James Jianzhang Liang, co-founder and executive chairman of Ctrip, said: “Ctrip and Skyscanner share the same passion and dedication in providing travellers around the world with better services. This acquisition will strengthen long-term growth drivers for both companies.”
Skyscanner’s claim to fame has been its metasearch platform that enables users to compare prices from hundreds of travel sites when searching for flights, hotels, and rental cars. It ranks as one of the top online travel brands based on search interest, generating 60 million monthly active users and available in over 30 languages. The company quickly established leadership in Europe and a growing presence in APAC and the Americas.
“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 traveler-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,”Gareth Williams, Skyscanner’s co-founder and chief executive, said. “It’s an exciting time for our business, our partners and the travellers who use us.”