RealTime IT News

ebookers.com Buys Scandinavian Online Travel Agency

[London, ENGLAND] European travel company ebookers.com announced Wednesday its acquisition of Scandinavian online travel agency MrJet.

The deal is costing ebookers.com around 2.6 percent of its issued share capital on a fully diluted basis.

In return, ebookers.com is acquiring a subsidiary that has performed consistently over the past year and has accumulated 0.2 million registered users. According to independent auditor MMXI, MrJet's site had over 130,000 unique visitors per month during January and February 2001, and is among the top four travel sites in Sweden.

Dinesh Dhamija, chief executive of ebookers.com, said the acquisition would place his company at the head of the pack in Scandinavia which is one of Europe's most advanced Internet regions in terms of usage.

"Along with organic growth, we see acquisitions as a key way of furthering our leading European market position. We will be considering further acquisitions at appropriate stages and values in key markets over the forthcoming year," said Dhamija.

ebookers.com has now made 12 acquisitions since the summer of 1999 and is certainly justified in calling itself a pan-European travel agency. It now serves 11 European countries.

Its latest acquisition, MrJet, also serves several countries besides Sweden, selling mainly flights but also other travel products to customers in Norway, Finland, and Denmark. MrJet's turnover in 2000 was approximately US $10 million.

MrJet came into existence in 1997 as a travel channel within the Scandinavian Internet portal Spray. In 1999 it was launched as a separate company and now achieves nearly 90 percent of its sales online.

Henrik Kjellberg, chief executive of MrJet, said his company looked forward to consolidating its strengths and being part of a major online presence in Northern Europe.

Like MrJet, ebookers.com also became a separate company in 1999, being the technology and travel spin-off from London-based travel agency Flightbookers plc. It continues to expand at a time when some other online travel agencies are retrenching. Earlier this week, U.K. agency deckchair.com merged with World Travel Holdings on what many observers believe were unfavorable terms.