Published on Monday, September 27, 2004
Enables Development to Accelerate and Gives Access to Key US Market Cambridge 23 September 2004: Active Hotels Ltd (“Active”) is pleased to announce that it has reached agreement on the sale of its business to priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN), one of the largest online travel sellers in the US for a cash consideration of approximately £90 million (US$161 million). Active will become the platform for priceline.com’s expansion in the European market, with Andrew Phillipps having overall responsibility for priceline.com’s enlarged European operations. Priceline.com shares the same focus on building long-term sustainable relationships with hotel clients. Priceline.com sells a full complement of published and unpublished discount travel products that include airline tickets, hotel rooms, car hires, packaged holidays and cruises. It is best-known for its Name Your Own Price products and its celebrity pitchman, William Shatner. In addition to its flagship priceline.com, priceline operates Travelweb, a published-price service for hotel rooms; Lowestfare.com, a published-price Web site for airline tickets, and Rentalcars.com and Breezenet.com, two published-price Web sites for car hires. In the quarter ended June 30, 2004, priceline.com had gross bookings of US$470 million. Jeffery H. Boyd, President and Chief Executive Officer of priceline.com said: “As one of the fastest-growing hotel services in the European market, Active Hotels will play an important part in priceline.com’s growth plans. Andrew Phillipps and his team have built a profitable, supplier-friendly business, which mirrors the positioning of the Priceline and Travelweb hotel businesses.” Andrew Phillipps, Chief Executive of Active commenting on the transaction said: “This deal is great news for all involved. For our hotel customers, we expect that this will provide additional US demand from one of the market leaders. We believe that our pricing model will continue to put real pressure on competitors. For websites which work with us, the deal should provide low-priced hotel rooms in the US, complementing our market-leading European stock. Finally, this is great news for Active Hotels and its staff. Under priceline.com’s ownership and with their backing, we plan to expand still faster and consolidate our already strong position” Active Hotels is one of the market leaders in European on-line travel. They work with 8,000 hotels and 1,500 websites, and gross bookings for the 12 months ending September 30, 2004 are expected to be approximately US$160 million, up approximately 100% year-over-year. . The company has seen extraordinary growth rates, winning it the coveted Deloittes award for being the fastest growing technology company in the UK. Matthew Witt, Operations director said “As a management team we are looking forward to building the reach and capability of our business more rapidly than we could have done on a standalone basis.” UBS Investment Bank acted as financial adviser to Active in relation to its sale to Priceline. Lovells provided legal advice and Deloitte provided tax and other advice. -End- About priceline.com: www.priceline.com is a travel service that offers leisure airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, vacation packages and cruises. Priceline.com also has a personal finance service that offers home mortgages, refinancing and home equity loans through an independent licensee. Priceline.com operates the retail travel Web sites Activehotels.com, Travelweb.com, Lowestfare.com, Rentalcars.com and Breezenet.com. Priceline.com licenses its business model to independent licensees, including pricelinemortgage and certain international licensees. About Active Hotels: Active Hotels is Europe’s leading on-line hotel reservations provider, offering an excellent choice of hotels and room prices available across Europe via its booking interface: www.activereservations.com. The company works with 8,000 leading European hotels and aims to have 10,000 European properties on-line by the end of 2004. For further information, please visit: www.activehotels.com Press contact: Mandy Zakhour, European Media Relations & Communications, Active Hotels Tel: +44 (0)1223 578134 Email: [email protected]
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The recent insolvency of Low Cost Travel Group, one of the large players in the travel industry had a big impact on the travelers, hotels and all related players from both wholesale & retail arms. There were about 27,000 people on a holiday who had booked through the company comprised of a €200 million wholesale arm and €500 million OTA / retail arm.