South African Internet and media conglomerate Naspers is looking to exit its five-year-old investment in B2B online travel portal Travel Boutique Online (TBO). As per undisclosed sources, Naspers is said to have approached MakeMyTrip and Yatra, as well as financial investors, for a stake sale.
Naspers is seeking a valuation of $47 Mn (INR 300 Cr) for TBO. It holds 52% of TBO’s parent entity, Tek Travels, through a Mauritius-based unit MIH Group. It had acquired the stake in Travel Boutique Online in April 2012.
Tek Travels was started by Gaurav Bhatnagar and Ankush Nijhawan in 2005. TBO was started in 2006 and mainly deals with the B2B travel needs. TBO offers a range of travel services, such as airline, train and hotel reservation and holiday package deals to travel agents and acts as an aggregator of these services. It also helps charter helicopters and provides car rental, bus bookings and travel insurance services for the B2B segment. More than 25,000 travel agents in India and the Middle East reportedly use TBO. With 45 offices in India and an office in Dubai, it posted more than $31.4 Mn (INR 200 Cr) in revenue for the financial year ended March 2016.
As per sources, TBO’s founders, Ankush Nijhawan and Gaurav Batra, have also offered to buy the stake. Emails sent to Gaurav and Naspers awaited response at the time of publication.
Naspers India And Consolidations In Travel And Payments
The stake sale news comes almost 10 months after the media group conglomerate sold its investment in ibibo Group to rival MakeMyTrip in a stock deal valued at $1.8 Bn. The Ibibo group, which was owned by Naspers (91% stake) and Tencent (9% stake) was sold in full, in consideration of issuance of new shares by MakeMyTrip. Naspers and Tencent became the largest shareholders in the resulting company with a combined 40% stake.
Similarly, it executed another major consolidation play in the digital space in India. In September last year, its investment PayU India acquired local startup Citrus Pay for $130 Mn, making it by far the biggest M&A cash deal in Indian fintech.
In July this year, it led the $80 Mn Series E funding round of online food delivery startup Swiggy along with existing investors Accel India, SAIF Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Harmony Partners, and Norwest Venture Partners. The latest round pegged Swiggy’s valuation at about $400 Mn.
Currently, the travel tech startups in its portfolio include ibibo and redBus under the MakeMyTrip umbrella and TBO.
If Naspers manages to sell TBO to MakeMyTrip, it would further consolidate its presence in India’s online travel tech sector.
(The development was reported by ET)