ECONOMY

Flipkart Acquires Online Travel Firm Cleartrip

Walmart-owned Flipkart Internet Pvt. acquired online ticket and holiday booking platform Cleartrip even as the travel business is struggling to overcome Covid-19 restrictions.

“Flipkart will acquire 100% of Cleartrip’s shareholding, as the company further enhances its investments to strengthen its digital commerce offerings for customers,” the e-commerce company said in a statement on Thursday.

While the company didn’t disclose the deal amount, one person privy to the matter told BloombergQuint that Flipkart has acquired Cleartrip for about $40 million. The booking platform has been acquired in a distress deal, the person said on the condition of anonymity.

Flipkart and Cleartrip have yet to respond to BloombergQuint’s emailed queries.

Founded by Stuart Crighton, Hrush Bhatt and Matthew Spacie in 2006, Mumbai-based Cleartrip has been finding it difficult to withstand the competition in the online travel space. The pandemic has only added to its woes.

According to the statement, Cleartrip operations will be acquired by Flipkart, and it will continue to operate as a separate brand, but will work closely with Flipkart to further develop technology solution.

To be sure, Flipkart already has an option to book flight tickets on its platform through its partnership with MakeMyTrip, which was later shifted to Ixigo.

“Cleartrip is synonymous with travel for many customers, and as we diversify and look at new areas of growth, this investment will help strengthen our wide range of offerings for customers,” Kalyan Krishnamurthy, chief executive officer at Flipkart Group, said.

With the acquisition of Cleartrip, Flipkart is now going to compete with the likes of MakeMyTrip, Yatra, Booking.com & Goibibo, in the crowded online travel market. The move will not only allow it to increase its gross sales and tap into new customers, but also allow it to cross-sell its financial services and products such as insurance and payments for travel bookings through Cleartrip.

The development comes at a time the e-commerce segment is witnessing heightened deal activity and partnerships as companies try to expand their dominance in the market. Already, Tata Group has sought the competition regulator’s approval for acquiring a 64.3% stake in BigBasket as it looks to make its way into India’s e-commerce market.

There’s also Reliance Retail Ltd.’s acquisition of Future Group’s retail assets, which is locked in a legal battle between Future Retail Ltd. and Amazon.com Inc. The transaction is currently pending at the National Company Law Tribunal for approval of the scheme of arrangement between Reliance and Future.

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