New Delhi, June 23: South Africa's multinational media firm Naspers, which runs online travel aggregator Ibibo in India, has acquired Bangalore-based online bus ticketing firm redBus.in for an estimated sum of over $130 million (approximately Rs 780 crore).
The deal makes it the largest M&A in the Indian online travel and ticketing segment so far. Avendus Capital facilitated the deal.
Ibibo Group and Pilani Soft Labs Pvt Ltd, owner of redBus.in have executed a binding agreement for the acquisition, the company said in a statement.
"This transaction will expand and diversify Ibibo Group's existing travel assets: Goibibo.com (B2C online travel aggregators) and TravelBoutiqueOnline (a B2B online travel platform that enables thousands of small and medium agents)," the statement added.
redBus.in sells more than a million tickets a month and has over 600 full time employees.
Commenting on the development, Ibibo Group CEO Ashish Kashyap said: "This gives us significant combined scale in terms of daily transaction volumes.... We see this as an exciting market opportunity. Online penetration of the bus market is only 5.7 per cent compared to 28 per cent for air travel, suggesting headroom for rapid future growth."
He further said India now has a network of good roads, which is increasing further. Number of buses would increase as people are opting for bus travel due to costly air travel and and long wait-listed railway tickets, said Kashyap.
The funds will be utilized in expanding and diversifying its existing travel assets Goibibo.com ( a major B2C online travel aggregator) and TravelBoutiqueOnline (a B2B online travel platform for small and medium agents), he said.
Pilani Soft Labs was founded in 2006 by 3 BITS-Pilani graduates -- Phanindra Sama, Charan Padmaraju and S Pasupunuri, who own three products -- redBus, BOSS and SeatSeller -- serving the fragmented bus industry in India.
All travel entities of Ibibo Group, including redBus.in will continue to run independently and operate as separate businesses to drive deep focus, it said, adding, the founders and management teams of redBus.in would continue in their respective positions in the company.
Ibibo Group is owned by a holding company MIH Ltd, which is jointly owned by South Africa's media house Naspers and China's internet firm Tencen.