China’s Ctrip Snaps Up Travelfusion for $160 Million

The London-based company, which was formed by an Israeli, links airfares and hotels to travel websites.

"China is expected to be the largest travel market in the world"
"China is expected to be the largest travel market in the world:" The Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, January 5, 2015. AP

Travelfusion, which links low-cost airfares and hotels to leading travel websites like Expedia and Kayak, has been acquired by China’s Ctrip.com for $160 million, sources have told TheMarker.

Ctrip.com, an online travel service that trades on the Nasdaq, announced this week that it had bought a majority stake in Travelfusion for an undisclosed sum, but it has actually bought the entire company for $160 million, the sources say.

Travelfusion, which keeps a low media profile, had not responded to requests for comment as of late yesterday. The London-based company was formed in 1999 by Israeli Moshe Rafiah, who remains its CEO and controls half its shares until the sale goes through.

The other half is controlled by other Israel investors. These include the high-tech investing arm of Hashmira, a security company that invested $750,000 in the firm 14 years ago at a $6.5 million valuation, and Samurai Ventures, which is controlled by tycoon Yitzhak Tshuva.

“China is expected to be the largest travel market in the world, and Ctrip is the clear leader in the online and mobile travel industry in China,” Rafiah said in a statement issued by Ctrip.com on Monday.

Travelfusion’s Direct Connect distribution platform lets travel agents and mobile travel services search and book air travel, hotel stays and railway tickets. It also facilitates global payment and settlement.