Flipkart said on Thursday it has agreed to acquire online travel and hotel ticketing firm Cleartrip as the Walmart-owned e-commerce firm looks to expand its offerings in the world’s second-largest internet market.
The deal values 14-year-old Cleartrip, which raised about $74 million prior to the acquisition, at about $40 million, a person familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.
Cleartrip will continue to operate as a separate brand, retaining all employees while working closely with Flipkart to “further develop technology solutions to make travel simple for customers,” the two companies said today.
The distress sale comes as Cleartrip, like most other travel firms, faces unprecedented stress amid the global pandemic that has severely diminished people’s appetite to move around.
Cleartrip is also a partner of Amazon in India, powering the ticketing engine for the American e-commerce group. The two firms inked a deal in 2019. TechCrunch asked Amazon earlier this week if it was aware and fine with its vendor partner exploring a buyout deal with Flipkart. The American e-commerce firm, which is currently fighting a court battle to block its estranged Indian partner Future Group from selling business to Reliance Retail, did not respond.
Flipkart has been rumored to be working for more than a year on introducing a flight tickets purchase feature on its marketplace.
Also, Flipkart will get access to a share of some 80-100 million consumers who use online platforms to purchase services like hotel reservations, air tickets but do not necessarily shop for products on e-commerce websites like Flipkart and Amazon.
Of the estimated 500-600 million Indian data users, about 250 million consumers buy services online but only around 150 million of them purchase products. “With the acquisition, it will be easier for Flipkart to convert the service buyers into product buyers,” Mathur said.
“The Flipkart Group is committed to transforming customer experiences through digital commerce. Cleartrip is synonymous with travel for many customers, and as we diversify and look at new areas of growth, this investment will help strengthen our wide range of offerings for customers. We welcome the Cleartrip team with their deep industry knowledge and technology capabilities to the Flipkart Group and look forward to providing deeper value and travel experiences for customers together,” said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO of Flipkart Group, in a statement.
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