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Singapore-Based Wego To Acquire Cleartrip’s Middle East Business From Flipkart

Singapore-Based Wego To Acquire Cleartrip’s Middle East Business From Flipkart

This transaction is expected to close by the second half of 2022

The deal includes the sale of Flyin.com and a technology co-operation agreement between Wego and Flipkart

The transaction is further subjected to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals

Singapore-based traveltech platform Wego, which operates in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA region), has signed an agreement with Flipkart to acquire Cleartrip’s Middle East business.

This transaction, which is expected to close by the second half of 2022, also includes the sale of Cleartrip’s Flyin.com and a technology co-operation agreement between Wego and Flipkart. 

For the uninformed, Flipkart bought Cleartrip in April last year. The ecommerce major had acquired 100% of Cleartrip’s shareholding, but the latter continued to operate as a separate brand retaining all employees while working closely with Flipkart. 

The acquisition by Flipkart was a distress sale for the travel portal, considering the downturn in the travel and hospitality industry amid the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Founded in 2006 as a hotels and air aggregator by Stuart Crighton, Hrush Bhatt, and Matthew Spacie, Cleartrip is an online travel company based in Bengaluru. It expanded into the Middle East region in 2010 and acquired Riyadh-based Flyin.com in 2018, which played a role in kick-starting online travel in Saudi Arabia. Cleartrip has a regional headquarter in Dubai.

Talking about the Wego-Cleartrip acquisition, the transaction is further subjected to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

“Cleartrip and Flyin are both product-driven companies with best-in-class OTA technology that have established strong brands and positions across the Middle East,” said Ross Veitch, CEO, and cofounder of Wego. 

Founded in 2005, Wego operates an online travel marketplace in the MENA region and operates through travel search websites and mobile apps.

“Wego harnesses powerful technology to automate and simplify the process of searching, comparing and booking travel across hundreds of airlines, hotel chains and online travel agencies,” it said.

Wego is headquartered both in Dubai and Singapore and is backed by investors including Tiger Global Management, Crescent Point, Square Peg Capital, Middle East Venture Partners, and the MBC Group.

“This acquisition will increase our scale and capabilities and will strengthen our ability to partner and collaborate across our region. We are excited to begin a multi-faceted partnership with Flipkart that will involve us sharing a brand across regions and co-operating on technology,” said Veitch.

Sharing more details about the acquisition, Flipkart’ senior VP and head of corporate development, Ravi Iyer said, “Given our strategic priorities and focus on the Indian market, the acquisition of Cleartrip’s Middle East business by Wego provides continuity to its business, and we believe that they are the right partners to boost its next phase of growth.”

Stuart Crighton, cofounder, head of Cleartrip’s international business, said, “The Middle East region is well placed to be the engine of growth for travel both as a destination and as a highly mobile, digital-savvy demographic looking for choice and value.”

Founded in 2007, Flipkart has a registered customer base of more than 350 Mn, offering over 150 Mn products across 80 categories. Flipkart Group is also a majority shareholder in PhonePe, one of the leading Payments Apps in India.