China's to buy Skyscanner in $1.74 billion deal

Employees at work at Ctrip's Shanghai call center.
Andrew Ross | AFP | Getty Images International, China's biggest online travel company, said on Wednesday it agreed to buy travel search website Skyscanner Holdings in a deal valuing the Scotland-based company at about 1.4 billion pounds. ($1.74 billion).

Ctrip's shares were up 9.2 percent at $44.75 in extended trading.

Skyscanner, a result of CEO and co-founder Gareth Williams' frustration with finding cheap flights, enables users to compare prices from different travel sites when searching for flights, hotels, and rental cars.

The website currently serves 60 million monthly active users and is available in over 30 languages.

Skyscanner was reported to be exploring a sale or an initial public offering.

The company was valued at $1.6 billion in a funding round in January, when it raised £128 million from a group of investors that included Malaysia's sovereign fund, Khazanah Nasional, and Yahoo Japan.

Skyscanner's current management team will continue to manage its operations independently after the close of the deal by the end of 2016, Ctrip said.

The deal will mainly consist of cash, with the rest consisting of Ctrip ordinary shares and loan notes.

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