Published on Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Opodo back on acquisition trail

Opodo has bought a leading online French travel company for 60 million euros.

Amadeus-owned Opodo paid the 60 million in cash for Karavel, the owner of Promovacances, an online package holiday retailer that is widely known in France. Karvel is chaired by Christian Blanc, the former chief executive of Air France.

The announcement comes just two weeks after Opodo paid £1.2 million for the longhaul tour operator, Quest Travel, which carries 30,000 customers a year mainly to Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Asia. And in September 2004 Opodo made a move into Italy with the takeover of Italian travel portal, Eviaggi, which at the time of purchase had a market share of over 15% of air bookings made on travel websites in Italy.

Commenting on the acquisition, Opodo chief executive Simon Vincent said: "As a leader in the European online travel market, Opodo is particularly strong in flight sales. Today’s acquisition of Karavel, with its excellent pre-packaged content, will complement Opodo’s existing portfolio of products and strengthen our presence in the key French market." The companies have worked together, sharing content, since 2003.

Opodo’s country manager for France, Petra Friedmann, said Opodo was already selling well in the country, with sales of pre-packaged holidays up 150% over the last 6 months in France.

Report by Ginny McGrath

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