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Skyscanner bought by Chinese travel agent Ctrip

Edinburgh-based flight booking platform Skyscanner has been bought by China's largest travel agency Ctrip International for £1.4 billion.24 Nov 2016

Ctrip has agreed to acquire all shares from the majority shareholders of Skyscanner Holdings, and will offer to acquire the shares of the remaining shareholders, Skyscanner said on its blog.

Skyscanner was established in 2001 to help travellers compare prices on flights, accommodation and car hire worldwide. It receives over 50 million visitors per month and has an annual turnover of £120 million.

Skyscanner’s current management team will continue to manage Skyscanner’s operations independently as part of the Ctrip group, it said.

Gareth Williams, 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," he said. "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."

Corporate finance expert Alan Diamond of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind which advised Skyscanner on the sale said: "Skyscanner is a tremendous business and proof that entrepreneurship is alive and well in Scotland. CTrip is an impressive business and to have attracted a major Chinese partner demonstrates both the quality of the Skyscanner business and the global reputation for innovation the UK tech sector enjoys. I have no doubt that this will not be the last time we see partnerships forged between British and Asian tech companies."