Home >Companies >Start-ups >Cleartrip spreads its wings, acquires Flyin

Bengaluru: Online travel agency Cleartrip Pvt. Ltd has acquired Saudi Arabian travel start-up Flyin for an undisclosed amount, according to a company statement on Thursday.

People close to the development pegged the size of the deal at $60-70 million. The transaction is, however, subject to regulatory approvals from both India and Saudi Arabia.

This is Cleartrip’s first cross-border acquisition and the Mumbai-based company is looking to step up operations in West Asia’s travel market, which has witnessed the entry of a dozen domestic and international budget operators such as FlyDubai, AirArabia, Pegasus Airlines and others. The company claimed that the combined entity of Cleartrip and Flyin will have a market share of over 60% in West Asia.

Saudi-based Flyin, which was founded in 2008, currently offers bus and flight ticketing and several holiday packages on its online portal. It claims to aggregate more than 320,000 hotels and 450 airlines on its platform.

Cleartrip, on the other hand, was founded in 2006, and has been in West Asia for the past five years. It offers air, hotel and stays accommodation, and also aggregates local experiences on its portal. Cleartrip claims to sell over 10 million flight tickets and 1.5 million hotel room nights annually. Cleartrip last raised an undisclosed round of funding from its existing investors Concur Technologies and Gund Investment, among others in June 2016.

At that time, Samyukth Sridharan, president and chief operating officer of Cleartrip said in an interview that Cleartrip raised a total of $75 million in funding.

Stuart Crighton chief executive officer (CEO) of Cleartrip said in an interview with Mint on Thursday that the company saw a lot of travel activity from West Asia, including from Indian expatriates and from domestic and international tourists.

“It (the West Asia market) is not surprising given the kind of relationship south Asia has with the Middle East. But it got to such a point where we realized that we need to go in there to be able to service this customer base which was getting larger every year…So we wanted to place ourselves as a local service provider in the Middle East, rather than placing ourselves as an Indian player in the Middle East," said Crighton during an interview.

“We are embarking on a new journey to reinforce our leadership position in Saudi Arabia’s online travel market. Bringing over a decade’s international experience and industry-leading technologies and skills, Cleartrip will also help us to offer our customers new and enhanced travel experiences. We look forward to having Cleartrip continue to support the economic growth in the Kingdom, as well as the evolving travel needs of our customers," added Abdullah Al Romaih, founder, Flyin in a statement.

According to a report by management consulting firm Praxis Global, the online travel market in India, led by flight and hotel aggregators, is expected to touch $13.6 billion by 2021 and will account for almost 43% of the total travel category in the country.

In India, online travel is largely led by players such as Cleartrip, Yatra, MakeMyTrip, which merged with Goibibo in 2016, the report added.

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