lastminute.com sold for £500m less than in 2005

Dealing with the dotcom bomb

Eleventh-hour travel booking service lastminute.com, worth £577m nine years ago, has been sold for just £76m.

Swiss travel company Bravofly Rumbo has just bought the embattled business from travel technology company Sabre Holdings.

Sabre bought lastminute.com in 2005 in a deal that valued lastminute.com at £577m.

lastminute.com was founded by Martha Lane Fox and Brent Hoberman in October 1998 and hailed as one of the superstars of the dotcom era.

But in recent times the business has suffered from failing to keep pace in a crowded travel marketplace.

Numerous travel apps and other competing online services such as SkyScanner, Expedia and Kayak offer smart analytical services which have trumped lastminute.com’s offering.

In a statement today, Fabio Cannavale, chairman of Bravofly Rumbo Group, said: “lastminute.com is the perfect fit for Bravofly Rumbo Group.

“Its business complements and expands our offering in Europe and, with its strong presence in the hotel and vacation sector, diversifies our product revenue streams.

“We believe in the value and strength of lastminute.com’s iconic brand, which is recognized by more than 90% of European consumers.”

According to Sabre, the acquisition is part of Bravofly Rumbo Group’s growth plans to “select and integrate valuable assets, and would represent a significant step forward in the Group’s long-term strategy to help people get the best travel experience.

“Under the terms of the offer, Bravofly Rumbo Group would acquire all of lastminute.com’s principal global operations located in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy, reaching an expected combined Gross Travel Value of nearly €2.5bn and revenues of €260m.”

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