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Home / Companies / Cox and Kings buys UK’s LateRooms.com from TUI Group

Mumbai: One of India’s oldest travel agents Cox and Kings Ltd has acquired 100% stake of UK-based hotel-booking firm LateRooms Ltd, which runs the website LateRooms.com, from TUI Travel Plc for £8.5 million.

Tourist firm TUI Travel of Germany had announced early this year that it would be selling LateRooms.com as a part of divesting non-core assets.

LateRooms is a profitable, leading online hotel booking specialist in the UK, according to a statement by Cox and Kings.

“Its extensive offering encompasses a full range of accommodation options with over 54,800 properties globally, which can be booked up to a year in advance. LateRooms has a 3.5 million opted-in and active consumer database and had 93 million online visits in the financial year ending 30 September 2015, generating total transaction value (TTV) of £300 million and net revenues of £50 million," the Indian tour operating firm said on Tuesday.

LateRooms operates a single web platform, which optimises the website for mobile device usage.

In FY15, 57% of traffic was driven from smartphones and tablets. LateRooms also owns various brands and domain names, including AsiaRooms.com.

For Cox and Kings, the acquisition fits the group’s strategic intent to expand its global online and B2C (business to customers) leisure proposition.

Cox and Kings also expects to drive synergies and value from LateRooms’ association with the Cox and Kings subsidiary, SuperBreak Mini-Holidays Ltd, a leading short break packaged holiday specialist in the UK.

The Indian firm is expected to leverage LateRooms’ mobile phone-led technology platform more widely.

“We are confident that bringing the LateRooms brand and technology into the fold will provide a significant boost to Cox and Kings’ growth trajectory and technology capabilities," said Peter Kerkar, director, Cox and Kings.

Hugo Kimber, executive chairman, Cox and Kings, leisure division (European Union), said the acquisition of LateRooms and access to its online technology platform bolsters the group’s delivery capabilities across all geographies for the leisure business.

In September 2011, Cox and Kings, through its UK unit Prometheon Holdings (UK) Ltd, had acquired Holidaybreak for £312 million (around 2,673 crore) in an all-cash transaction, marking the biggest overseas acquisition by an Indian travel company and the ninth acquisition by Cox and Kings.

Holidaybreak is a UK-listed specialist travel company operating in education and activity travel groups. It has operations in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland.

The total debt of Cox and Kings stood at 3,780.46 crore as on 31 March 2015.

According to its website, LateRooms.com was born in Salford, Greater Manchester in 1999, starting life as an “on the day for the day" booking site for unsold rooms. By 2007, the firm had joined leading leisure travel group TUI Travel and now offers over 150,000 properties worldwide with more UK hotels than anybody else, the website read.

Cox and Kings is the leading holidays and education travel group with operations in 22 countries across four continents. In India, Cox and Kings has a presence in 149 cities.

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