European travel portal Easyvoyage has snapped up the UK's fifth largest travel price comparison website dealchecker.co.uk to give the France-based company a stronghold in the British market.
The acquisition will make Easyvoyage the fourth biggest price comparison website in the UK and the seventh largest travel website.
Easyvoyage, which also operates in Italy and Spain, has also acquired German price comparison website TravelJungle and online e-marketing agency FSI.
Founder and chief executive Jean Pierre Nadir revealed the Easyvoyage Group paid a total of €10m for all three businesses, with dealchecker the most costly of the three.
"Easyvoyage.co.uk has 400,000 unique users in the UK so we already had a position in this market but with dealchecker we will have one million unique users, which will put us in a strong position in the market and we will have a stronger relationship with our clients."
Easyvoyage, which makes money from clicks from its website through to its clients' travel portals, expects to generate €800m of travel sales for its clients in 2011, rising to 1bn in 2012. Nadir said the UK site would be profitable this year.
The company made a €5.6m profit in France last year on sales worth €17m. Dealchecker, is already profitable, though easyvoyage.co.uk, a much smaller player, is not.
Nadir added: "We"re incredibly pleased to have made these important additions to our business which have reinforced our leading position.
"Our footprint already reaches 21% of travel internet users in the world and these new acquisitions provide a great worldwide growth potential.
"We have ambitious expansion plans for the UK and we aim to achieve one billion Euros worth of sales to our partners in 2012. We also hope to grow our UK email database to 7 million subscribers in 2013."
Both the dealchecker and Easyvoyage brands will be retained, according to Nadir, and dealchecker founders Alex Saint, Troy Collins and Andrew Bredon will remain with the company for 12 months.
By Linsey McNeill
Friday, February 4, 2011