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Business News/ Companies / News/  Ebix to acquire online travel portal Via.com
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Ebix to acquire online travel portal Via.com

The deal with Ebix values Via.com at a total enterprise value of approximately $74.9 million

The acquisition of Via expands Ebix’s distribution network to over 224,000 outlets in South-east Asia.Premium
The acquisition of Via expands Ebix’s distribution network to over 224,000 outlets in South-east Asia.

Mumbai: Ebix Inc., a supplier of on-demand software and e-commerce services to the insurance, financial, e-governance and healthcare industries, on Tuesday said one of its Singapore subsidiaries agreed to acquire Via.com, an online travel and assisted e-commerce exchange.

The acquisition of Via expands Ebix’s distribution network to over 224,000 outlets in South-east Asia, besides offering significant cross-selling opportunities for Ebix’s EbixCash (earlier ItzCash) Financial Exchange portfolio of products, the company said in a statement.

The transaction values Via at a total enterprise value of approximately $74.9 million. The closing of the transaction is expected over the next few days.

Earlier this week, Mint reported that Ebix was looking to make significant acquisition bets in the travel space in India, having earmarked over $200 million for strategic acquisitions.

The company entered the Indian market with the purchase of an 80% stake in ItzCash for Rs800 crore from Essel Group and other shareholders in May. Since the ItzCash acquisition, Ebix has spent an additional $60-65 million in acquiring remittance businesses in the country.

According to Bhavik Vasa, chief growth officer at EbixCash, the acquisition will boost Ebix’s presence in the travel space, while also allowing for geographic expansion given that Via.com has a significant presence in South-east Asia.

“Travel is one of the most emerging sectors in the country. We were already present in the bill and digital payments, money transfer and in the travel segment. This will accelerate our presence in the travel space," he said.

With Via, the company will also have presence in Southeast Asia, “which matches our aspirations to be able to take our entire platform of EbixCash global", he said. “This would help us fast forward our footprint in emerging markets of South-east Asia."

Vasa added that Ebix’s next acquisitions could be in areas such as lending.

“We are looking at fintech as an entire end to end play, so the lending space can be our next vertical. We are also looking at spaces like healthcare and e-learning," he said.

Ebix will consolidate this acquisition into EbixCash to derive synergies and cross-selling opportunities.

“This allows us tremendous cross-selling opportunities through each other’s distribution networks as our product portfolio is complementary and a perfect fit for each of our distribution outlets and corporate clients," said Robin Raina, chief executive officer at Ebix Inc.

The Via distribution network encompasses over 85,000 agents in India, 14,700 agents in Indonesia, 9,900 agents in the Philippines, 600 agents in Singapore and 350 agents in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

“For us taking a strong position in the travel area was very important, since insurance, remittances, phone recharges, prepaid gift cards, etc., are the things that complement a consumer’s needs when they engage in travel. We believe that the cross-selling opportunities will further fuel organic growth in our EbixCash Financial Exchange portfolio," added Raina.

Ebix said that it expects the business to generate around $33 million in revenue in 2018 with an operating margin of approximately 30%.

The RainMaker Group acted as the sole financial adviser to shareholders of Via.com. Venture capital funds Sequoia Capital and Kalaari Capital are investors in Via.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Swaraj Singh Dhanjal
" Based in Mumbai, Swaraj Singh Dhanjal is responsible for Mint’s corporate news coverage. For the past eight years he has been writing on the biggest deals in private equity, venture capital, IPO market and corporate mergers and acquisitions. An engineer and an MBA, he started his journalism career in 2014 with Mint. "
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Published: 31 Oct 2017, 10:54 PM IST
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