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18
Jun

CarTrawler buys HolidayAutos from Lastminute.com

Posted by on in Industry News
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CarTrawler, the car rental technology and white label business, has bought the hire brand HolidayAutos from Lastminute.com, part of Travelocity.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The sale to CarTrawler ends a ten-year stint with Lastminute.com after it was snapped up during the Travelocity-owned brand’s buying spree in the early 2000s.

However, CarTrawler is only buying the online assets of HolidayAutos as part of the deal (brand, URLs, all domain names, white label services and marketing contracts) as trade-facing operations will remain separate, pending a review by Lastminute.com.

Travelocity says:

“Travelocity Global is currently assessing options for the Holiday Autos Trade business which is not part of the CarTrawler acquisition. One option, pending further review and consultation across each of our countries, may be exiting the intensively competitive car rental trade sector.”

CarTrawler will become the exclusive provider of car rental to Lastminute.com following the sale.

HolidayAutos joins existing B2C brand ArgusCarHire on the CarTrawler roster.

CarTrawler claims it will, post-acquisition of HolidayAutos, have booking volumes of 2.5 million per year and gross sales of Euro 500 million.

The deal is the first significant piece of corporate business development at CarTrawler since it took on an unspecified level of investment from private equity house ECI Partners in May 2009.

Since its formation in 2004, CarTrawler has steadily built a now sizeable technology business to provide car hire services to a string of airlines (such as Air India, Emirates, WestJet and Norwegian) as well as powering the rental functionality for the likes of Hostelworld, Skyscanner and Starwood.

Mike McGearty, CEO of CarTrawler says:

“The acquisition of these online assets will drive CarTrawler’s growth through diversification and increased scale and will deepen our geographic footprint.

“It will complement the existing aviation, travel, hospitality, leisure and consumer channels currently active across our platform. Our strategy is to realise the strong economic potential of the HolidayAutos assets through the platform, thereby creating enhanced value for CarTrawler, our partners, suppliers and customers.”

For Lastminute.com the sale pretty much marks the end of a previous strategy (triggered during its heady days post-IPO) to have a number of complementary brands under its wing.

Most of the high profile services, such as Deckchair.com and MedHotels, have since either been slowly wound down or sold off completely (Thomas Cook bought MedHotels in 2009).

Travelocity Europe president, Matthew Crummack, says:

“For the last ten years the HolidayAutos brand has been integral to Travelocity Global, and it has been our privilege to support the team to grow the business to become one of Europe’s most recognised, respected and leading car hire online aggregators.

“The time is now right for its further success to be developed by CarTrawler.  Their compelling vision and investment plans for the Holiday Autos brand make it the best custodian for the brand’s future growth.”

The move is latest in a line of interesting developments in the car hire sector in recent years.

Booking.com owner Priceline bought car rental technology and B2C brand TravelJigsaw for undisclosed fee in 2010, Hertz buying Dollar Thrifty for $22.3 billion, followed more recently by Avis Budget Group snapping up car sharing network Zipcar in January this year for a cool $500 million.

Original author: Kevin May
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