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November 24, 2016

Skyscanner lands £1.4bn sale to China’s Ctrip

Sale of the UK company adds to the growing list of home grown businesses moving abroad.

By James Nunns

Flight price checking website Skyscanner has been acquired by China’s Ctrip.

The largest Chinese online travel company agreed to buy the Scottish-based Skyscanner Holdings for £1.4bn.

The UK company, which serves 60 million monthly active users, raised £128m from investors in January and had been linked with an initial public offering.

The deal is expected to close by the end of 2016 and the company’s current management team will continue to manage its operations independently.

Ctrip is partly owned by Baidu, a Chinese search company, and like Skyscanner it provides online booking for airline travel in addition to railway tickets and for hotels.

In 2015 the company is said to have generated more than £41bn in gross merchandise value, a measure of online sales, according to the company’s website.

James Jianzhang Liang, co-founder and Executive Chairman of Ctrip, said: “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.

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“This acquisition will strengthen long-term growth drivers for both companies. Skyscanner will complement our positioning at a global scale and Ctrip will leverage our experience, technology and booking capabilities to Skyscanner’s.”

The company’s co-founder and CEO Gareth Williams said that the acquisition brings it one step closer to its goal of making travel simple for people 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,” said Williams.

Skyscanner was recently included on the Deloitte 2016 UK Technology Fast 50 list, which ranks the 50 fastest growing technology companies in the UK, based on the last four years of revenue growth.

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