EbixCash, the Indian subsidiary of Ebix Inc, a supplier of on-demand software and ecommerce services, has signed an acquisition deal with Mumbai-based Mercury Travels and Delhi-based Leisure Corp for nearly $14.2 Mn cumulatively.
Oberoi Hotels chain-backed Mercury Travel has a pan India network of 40 preferred sales agents (PSAs), 20 branch offices across 16 major cities in India. It has 350 employees working across its marketing offices in London, Hamburg and Frankfurt.
Whereas, Leisure Corp is event-based travel business with focus on financial and insurance industries.
Post-Acquisition Plans For Ebix
Post acquisition, Ebix plans to add a new travel division named ‘Mercury – An EbixCash Luxury initiative’. Ebix intends to consolidate the acquisitions into its financial exchange, EbixCash. With the acquisition, Ebix will have two brands in travel – Via.com and Mercury.
Ebix CEO Robin Raina said “We are excited to be able to bring these two leading companies together, with the goal of creating a pioneering luxury travel initiative. Between this Mercury initiative and our existing Via.com travel initiative, EbixCash is now uniquely positioned as an financial exchange that has end-to-end travel solutions for all sections of the society.”
The latest initiative by Ebix will focus on luxury, events and sports-related travel to be led by Leisure Corp founder Naveen Kundu who will hold 15% shareholding in this new initiative, while Ebix will have a controlling 85% share in the venture, the company said in a statement today.
With the acquisition of Mercury and Leisure Corp, Ebix arm in India will increase its employee strength by around 400 employees to nearly 7,600 employees. Ebix expects its Mercury initiative to grow at 20% rate annually.
Ebix says that its existing travel brand in India, Via.com continues to grow at a CAGR of 45% in the last three years. The Via distribution network encompasses over 85,000 agents in India, with its reach expanding in Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and UAE and Oman.
Travel Sector In India: A $48 Bn Industry
Travel sector is poised for huge growth. With the startup ecosystem of the country; AI, ML, blockchain, IOT are making India one of the few markets where travel is absorbing technology at a rapid pace to enhance the consumer experience. According to a June 2017 Google India-BCG report, India’s overall travel market is expected to become a $48 Bn industry within the next three years.
Taking technology forward, travel startup MakeMyTrip has invested an undisclosed amount in Bengaluru-based Bitla Software. The latter is a travel-focused technology provider with SaaS, cloud and mobile-based solutions to help customers expand their businesses.
IBEF report suggests sector’s total contribution to GDP at $ 208.9 Bn in 2016, and is forecast to add 10% of GDP by 2027. In February 2018, the country earned foreign exchange of around $ 2.706 Bn from the tourism sector.