China’s Ctrip to buy Skyscanner for £1.4bn

Skyscanner CEO Gareth Williams

China’s biggest online travel company Ctrip.com International said it agreed to buy Edinburgh-based travel search site Skyscanner Holdings for about £1.4 billion.

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

Skyscanner’s largest shareholder is Scottish Equity Partners (SEP).

SEP said a “definitive agreement” had been reached between Ctrip and the majority shareholders of Skyscanner, “including its largest shareholder Scottish Equity Partners (SEP).”

Calum Paterson, managing partner of SEP and a member of Skyscanner’s board of directors, said: “We are pleased to have played our part in helping Skyscanner become one of the world’s most exciting travel search companies.

“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.”

Ctrip said Skyscanner serves 60 million monthly active users and is available in more than 30 languages.

“Skyscanner is one of the largest travel search platforms in the world,” said James Jianzhang Liang, co-founder and executive chairman of Ctrip.

“We are excited to welcome Skyscanner into 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.

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

Gareth Williams, co-founder and chief executive officer of Skyscanner, said: “Ctrip is the clear market leader in China and a company we can learn a huge amount from.

“Today’s news takes Skyscanner one step closer to our goal of making travel search as simple as possible for travelers around the world.

“Ctrip and Skyscanner share a common view – that organizing 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 travelers know and love.

“It’s an exciting time for our business, our partners and the travelers who use us.”

Ctrip said: ” … the purchase consideration consists of cash mainly, the remainder consisting of Ctrip ordinary shares and loan notes.”

“The boards of directors of the company and Skyscanner have approved the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, and is expected to close by the end of 2016.”