The boss of Cheapflights, the rival UK metasearch site to Skyscanner, has congratulated the Scottish firm after a £1.4 billion acquisition was announced.
Chinese travel giant Ctrip announced overnight an agreement to buy Skyscanner with the deal expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Hugo Burge, chief executive of Cheapflights parent Momondo Group, said the news was positive for the whole industry.
He said: “First of all, congratulations to Gareth and the whole Skyscanner team on this news – it can only mean good things for the metasearch industry and is perhaps the beginning of a new global opportunity for those of us in it.
“They’ve worked hard and created a business of which Scotland and the U.K. can be very proud.
“This deal is further validation of our belief that metasearch is very attractive sweetspot in travel, based on building a trusted product for users.
“Although we’re focused on our own growth as now the world’s only independent metasearch, we’ll be following further developments with interest – especially with regards to how they build out on their recent forays in to chat-based services and AI, a key differentiator in the Asian market.”
As part of the Ctrip deal the current Skyscanner management team will continue to oversee operations independently as part of the Ctrip group.
Ctrip recorded total transaction value of $24.5 billion in 2014. It Ctrip was founded in Shanghai in 1999 and is a growing global provider of accommodation reservations, transportation ticketing, package tours and corporate travel management in China.
The company yesterday reported third quarter net revenues of $836 million, a 75% increase over the same period in 2015, and achieved an improved operating income of $67 million.
Skyscanner co-founder and chief executive Gareth Williams 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.
“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 travellers know and love. It’s an exciting time for our business, our partners and the travellers who use us.”
Ctrip co-founder and executive chairman James Jianzhang Liang said: “Skyscanner is one of the largest travel search platforms in the world.
“We are excited to welcome Skyscanner into the Ctrip group.
“Ctrip and Skyscanner share the same passion and dedication in providing travellers around the world with better services. 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.”