Naspers and Tencent, in which it holds a 34% stake, has acquired Indian online ticketing company RedBus through their joint venture company Ibibo. The value of the deal has not been disclosed, but reports suggest the value the deal was over US$100m (R1bn).
The Times of India reported on Friday that Ibibo has finalised an agreement to acquire Pilani Soft Labs, the Bangalore-based company that owns and operates RedBus. Naspers, through wholly owned subsidiary MIH, holds 80% of Ibibo; Tencent holds the remaining 20%.
Ibibo is already active in the Indian travel sector with Goibibo.com, a travel planning and quote aggregation service, and TravelBoutiqueOnline, a business-to-business travel agency platform.
According to The Times of India report, RedBus sells more than a million tickets each month, has daily listings for 228 000 seats, and employs more than 600 people. RedBus, which was founded in 2006, will continue to operate as a standalone company and its management team will remain unchanged.
RedBus allows users to make reservations online and then delivers booking confirmation via SMS, making it well suited to India where feature phones remain dominant.
“Online penetration of the bus market is only 5,7%, compared to 28% for air travel, suggesting headroom for rapid future growth,” says Ibibo Group CEO Ashish Kashyap.
Kashyap says India’s road network continues to improve and more people are opting to use buses because of the prohibitive cost of air travel.
In late afternoon trading on Friday, Naspers’s share price was off by 2% at R701,45. The counter has risen by 51% in the past 12 months. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media