Chinese firm buys Skyscanner for £1.4bn

Edinburgh based travel search business Skyscanner has been bought by Ctrip, China’s biggest online travel firm, for £1.4bn.

Skyscanner co-founder and chief executive Gareth Williams said the deal took his firm 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.”

The sale comes about a year after Skyscanner announced a fresh round of funding to help it expand. Its backers include investment firm Sequoia as well as the Malaysian government’s strategic investment fund, Yahoo Japan and fund manager Artemis.

Its biggest investor, Scottish Equity Partners, welcomed the sale and said it was “particularly pleased” that Skyscanner would continue to be headquartered in Edinburgh and to operate independently.

Skyscanner, which was set-up in 2003, is available in more than 30 languages, with about 60 million monthly active users. It will continue to be run independently, with the same management team.

Shanghai-based Ctrip became China’s biggest internet travel service after merging with a similar business, Qunar, last year. That deal gave Chinese internet giant Baidu, which controlled Qunar, a 25% stake in Ctrip.

Ctrip was founded in 1999 and is one of China’s best-known travel businesses.

The deal would “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.”

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