India: Flipkart to buy travel and hotel booking platform Cleartrip

REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa

Flipkart Group is close to buying travel and hotel booking platform Cleartrip in a distress sale, three people aware of the matter said, as the Walmart-owned e-commerce giant strengthens its operations in the hospitality segment.

The cash-and-stock deal valuing Cleartrip at almost $40 million may close in the next 10 days, said two of the three people cited above, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. The deal comes at a time the hospitality industry continues to reel from the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The travel and hospitality industry has been severely affected by the impact of covid-19, with travel booking platforms unable to get back on their feet,” one of the three people cited above said. “The Cleartrip acquisition allows Flipkart to now have a direct play in the travel and hospitality segment, which it offered earlier through partnerships. The acquisition may also allow Flipkart to cross-sell financial services and products like insurance and payments for travel bookings through Cleartrip,” the person added.

Flipkart introduced travel bookings in 2018 through a partnership with MakeMyTrip, and switched to Ixigo the next year.

The person said travel continues to be a big focus for Flipkart, which has snapped up offline retail and fashion companies to grow these categories. The two companies have been holding talks for the past five months, this person added.

In September 2020, Flipkart tied up with Liberty General Insurance to provide travel insurance for flights booked on its platform.

A Flipkart spokesperson declined to comment. Queries emailed to a spokesperson for ClearTrip remained unanswered till press time.

Cleartrip last raised an undisclosed amount from Concur Technologies and Gund Investments in 2016, taking its total fund-raise to $75 million.

The company acquired Saudi Arabian travel startup Flyin in 2018 to expand in West Asia.

Cleartrip’s other investors include Kleiner Perkins, Sherpalo Ventures, and DFJ, which have successfully exited the startup.

“The deal is in its final stages; there could be a change in management by the end of this month. They were trying for an exit for some time now because after SAP acquired Concur, the focus moved away from travel,” one of the people cited above said.

German enterprise software major SAP acquired Concur Technologies for approximately $8.3 billion in 2014.

In November 2020, Flipkart acquired augmented reality company Scapic to build immersive shopping experiences. The same month, it acquired Mech Mocha to scale its gaming business.

Flipkart has also picked up stakes in offline brands, including Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd; Arvind Youth Brands and Wrogn-owner Universal Sportsbiz Pvt. Ltd to expand the choice on its platform and establish an offline-retail presence.

This article was first published on livemint.com.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.