Skyscanner sold to Chinese travel site for £1.4bn

China's biggest online travel service has bought Skyscanner in a deal that values the travel search site at £1.4 billion.

Skyscanner is a Scottish success story.
Skyscanner is a Scottish success story.

The deal announced today adds to a string of global acquisitions by Chinese companies in search of technology, brands and access to foreign markets. International Ltd. said the management of Edinburgh-based Skyscanner Holdings Ltd, which allows users to compare prices of air tickets, hotels and rental cars on hundreds of travel sites, will remain in place and operate the company independently.

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Ctrip dominates the Chinese online travel market, while Skyscanner is a leader in Europe and has a growing presence in the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region.

Skyscanner said it would continue to run independently, with the same management team.

“This acquisition will strengthen long-term growth drivers for both companies,” Ctrip executive chairman James Jianzhang Liang said in a statement.

“Skyscanner will complement our positioning at a global scale, and we will leverage our experience, technology and booking capabilities to help Skyscanner.”

Chinese companies, flush with cash from their country’s economic boom, have bought foreign brands including Volvo Cars, Club Med and General Electric Co.’s home appliances unit as growth in their home market slows and they try to improve their competitive edge. 
The sale comes about a year after Skyscanner announced a fresh round of investment to help it expand. Its backers include investment firm Sequoia as well as the Malaysian government’s strategic investment fund, Yahoo Japan and fund manager Artemis.