Travel website Skyscanner bought by Chinese firm Ctrip in £1.4bn deal

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The website is a favourite with people looking for good holiday deals (Source: Getty)

The UK travel comparison site Skyscanner has been bought up by Ctrip, China's largest online travel business. The deal values Skyscanner at around £1.4bn.

The travel website, which is based in Edinburgh, said it would keep the same management team and would be run independently within the Ctrip group.

What does this mean for UK tech? Skyscanner's biggest shareholder gives views on the deal

Skyscanner is a favourite among people looking for the best deals on flights, allowing users to compare a variety of airlines servicing a particular route, and the prices they offer. It has 60m users a month and is available in more than 30 languages.

Gareth Williams, co-founder and chief executive 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 travellers around the world. 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."

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The company was thought to be considering an initial public offering also.

BEHIND THE DEAL

Alan Diamond – Pinsent Masons

  • The law firm’s team was led by corporate finance partner Alan Diamond and Rosalie Chadwick.
  • Diamond is based in Edinburgh but works across Scotland and sometimes in London. Because Skyscanner is based in Edinburgh as well, Diamond had the bonus of getting to work on the deal in his home city.
  • Don’t tell Celtic, but Diamond is a Rangers supporter. He also follows US sports closely and is a big supporter of American football team the Philadelphia Eagles.

Also advising…

  • Investment bank Qatalyst, led by co-president Jonathan Turner, provided corporate finance advice for Skyscanner.
  • Ctrip was advised on the legal side by Skadden Arps and was represented by its own general counsel.

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