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Chinese online travel giant Ctrip has made a huge move into the international marketplace with a $1.75 billion takeover of travel search site Skyscanner.
The announcement came at the same time as Ctrip released its 2016 Q3s – net revenues of $836 million.
CEO Jane Sun chimed in that Skyscanner margins usually come in at around 20-25% and that the business was profitable.
Skyscanner team got the Ctrip’s CEO seal of approval. “They are strong, very lean, quick learners and have been very aggressive in expanding their brand and services.”
Ctrip execs also hinted at the synergies between Ctrip and Skyscanner. The repeated references to “booking capabilities” hints at something to watch as Skyscanner and Ctrip start working together.
One of the analysts asked about the future relationship between Skyscanner and Travelfusion, the UK-based B2B content aggregator in which Ctrip took a majority stake at the start of 2015.
CFO Cindy Wang said:
“Skyscanner as a metasearch is at the higher end of the traffic funnel while Travelfusion is more on the supply side. We have a plan that Skyscanner will gain access to Ctrip’s flight and also Travelfusion’s product offerings.”
CEO and co-founder Gareth Williams says Skyscanner, which will remain an independently run division of Ctrip, can “learn a lot” from its new owner, not least because he feels that the business has plenty of room for growth.
Skyscanner has around 60 million monthly users and is available in 30 countries, with Europe its strongest market.
Ctrip’s deal to acquire Skyscanner comes almost four years to the day since the Priceline Group bought Kayak, and for a similar amount at $1.8 billion.
Some speculators argued that Skyscanner might make a handy target for the Priceline Group to shore up its metasearch business in Europe and Asia-Pacific, where Skyscanner is beginning to make in-roads. In a way, though not directly, it has.
The Priceline Group has a minority stake (15%) in Ctrip.