What Started As An Idea In A Pub Now Sold For $1.75 billion

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Shanghai-based Ctrip of China has acquired Edinburgh-based Skyscanner of the United Kingdom in a deal valued at $1.75 billion. Baidu a search engine giant controls 25% stake in Ctrip, which is China’s biggest online travel agency and third largest in the world.

In a statement Ctrip says the deal will “strengthen long-term growth drivers for both companies”. They believe with this deal Skyscanner can tap into their technology, while they will use Skyscanner platform to prop up their global scale.

Gareth Williams discussed the idea for Skyscanner with two university friends in a pub back in 2001. Williams was frustrated by how hard it was to find a cheap flight ticket. They started Skyscanner in 2003. Today the U.K. based firm has more 60 million people from around the globe use their website every month to book cheap airfares, rental cars and hotels.

Williams thinks “Ctrip and Skyscanner share a common view”. He will continue to lead Skyscanner in his capacity as the CEO. While Ctrip will continue to operate independently.

As both companies have indicated the deal will be win-win situation. With more Chinese people travelling abroad, this is the right move by Ctrip. World Travel and Tourism reported that Chinese tourists spent $215 billion in 2015.

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