Mumbai-based online travel agency Cleartrip has acquired Flyin, Saudi Arabia's online travel aggregator (OTA) for an undisclosed amount. The deal is the first major cross-border transaction of its nature by an Indian OTA, strengthening the dominant position of Cleartrip in the region.
The deal will strengthen Cleartrip’s operations in the MENA region, which is home to a large population of tech-savvy consumers and has among the highest levels of smartphone and internet penetration in the world. The combined company will have over 60% market share throughout the Middle East online travel agency market.
Cleartrip has recorded rapid growth year-on-year since the company made its first international expansion in the Gulf Cooperation Council region in 2012 to become the largest OTA in the Middle East.
Stuart Crighton, Founder and CEO of Cleartrip said, “Having established a strong position in India with our world class products, we are pushing ahead with our ambitious expansion plans in the MENA market, and together with Flyin, we have reached a major milestone in our journey. The transaction represents the culmination of our search for a strategic partner that has outstanding market association in Saudi Arabia and shares our business ethos and principles.”
Abdullah Al Romaih, Founder of Flyin, commented, “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.”
The transaction will enable both companies to leverage new technologies, talents and business intelligence to strengthen their travel offerings to cater to a diverse customer base. The transaction will close once final regulatory and corporate approvals are received.
Flyin which has direct access to more than 320,000 hotels and over 450 airlines, was started in 2008.
Founded in 2006 by Stuart Crighton, Hrush Bhatt and Matthew Spacie, Cleartrip competes with the likes of MakeMyTrip, Yatra and global player Ebix that recently entered in India through the acquisition of Via. Flipkart have also entered the travel segment through tie-up with MakeMyTrip to allow customers to book domestic flight tickets and other travel services directly through the e-commerce firm’s portal. Paytm also offer travel services on its platform.