ebookers.com Takes Over Its Own Parent Company

[London, ENGLAND] European online travel company
ebookers.com announced Thursday the “completion” of
its acquisition of Flightbookers plc, the 17-year-old
travel agency that originally gave birth to the online
venture.

As specified in the acquisition terms, ebookers.com is
paying 50 percent of the US $15 million consideration
immediately in new ebookers.com shares. It will pay
the remaining 50 percent within two years, in shares
or cash — when the deal, surely, will be complete.

It is not often that an online venture is able to
acquire a long-established parent company. The
acquisition seems to go against the trend, reportedly
identified by the chairman of USA Network Inc. this
week, that 99 percent of all Internet business ventures
will “go up in one kind of smoke or another” in the
coming years.

A substantial business, Flightbookers plc is one of
the UK’s largest independent travel agents that offers
its customers over 1.2 million discounted fares with
the world’s leading airlines. Licensed by the International
Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Civil Aviation
Authority (CAA), it has retail outlets in London’s West
End and on the concourse at Gatwick Airport.

The proud new owner, ebookers.com, operates in Denmark,
Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway,
Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K.

By acquiring Flightbookers, ebookers.com achieves its
aim of owning in-house fulfilment operations in all of
its 11 operating countries. In addition, the deal
secures ebookers.com’s long-term access to negotiated
air fares — one of the keys to running a successful
online travel service.

With its customer base of 0.22 million, Flightbookers will
increase the revenues of the online company. Although
ebookers.com says it has no intention of raising any
more funds for expansion, it does not have a positive
cash-flow at this stage of its development.

Although it has many features of the typical dotcom
enterprise, ebookers.com can now at least claim to be
firmly anchored in the “real world” of travel retailing.

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