Select Page

Scotland-based travel search firm, Skyscanner has agreed to be acquired by Ctrip, China’s largest online travel company.

The terms of the acquisition value Skyscanner at approximately £1.4 billion and the deal is expected to close by the end of 2016.

Skyscanner, which is based in Edinburgh, is a search and price comparison site with around 60 million active monthly users, while Ctrip is one of China’s largest and most well-known travel firms.

The boards of directors of Skyscanner have approved the deal, but it is subject to customary closing conditions. Skyscanner will continue to run independently, the post continued, and retain the current management team.

“Today’s news takes Skyscanner one step closer to our goal of making travel search as simple as possible for travellers around the world,” said Skyscanner CEO Gareth Williams. “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.

“It’s an exciting time for our business, our partners and the travellers who use us.”

There has been a rise in UK tech firms being acquired by international firms, particularly large international corporations, in recent months. In July, for instance, Cambridge-based chip manufacturer ARM was bought by the Japanese tech firm Softbank for $32 billion (£24bn).

Elsewhere in Europe, NXP Semiconductors was bought by Qualcomm for a staggering $47 billion.

During his first (and last) Autumn Statement, chancellor Philip Hammond set out plans to inject an additional £400 million into venture capital funds, leading to £1 billion of new financing for startups which, he hopes, will allow them to grow independently rather than being snapped up by big businesses.

“I am taking a first step to tackle the longstanding problem of our fastest growing technology firms being snapped up by bigger companies rather than growing to scale,” Hammond told the House of Commons as he presented the Autumn Statement. The money will be invested by the British Business Bank, a state-owned economic development bank set up to help smaller UK companies access funding.

At the time of the ARM acquisition, however, Hammond said on Twitter that the deal showed the “UK has lost none of its allure to global investors.”