The company now somewhat confusingly calling itself lastminute.com group is eyeing further acquisitions as it continues to transition away from a pure online travel agency model.
This isn’t the same lastminute.com that became a symbol of the dotcom boom during the early 2000s but rather the company formerly known as Bravofly Rumbo Group.
The Swiss-based firm chose to rename itself after buying lastminute.com from Sabre for only £1 in March 2015, although it did take on some $43 million in debt after asset sales and entered into a long-term global distribution system agreement with Sabre at the time of the purchase.
It was the latest in a string of deals that have seen it branch out from being strictly an online travel agency to metasearch and other areas – and it is unlikely to be the last transaction.
“For M&A we have a very active and I would say mixed pipeline,” CEO Fabio Cannavale told analysts on an earnings call Wednesday following the release of its first-half results.
The company’s performance in first six months of 2016 was an improvement on the prior year, thanks in part to the integration of lastminute.com.
Revenue rose by 8.5 percent to $150 million (€133.2 million), helping to move it from a pre-tax loss of $2 million (€1.8 million) to a profit of $6.3 million (€5.6 million).
The results prompted the board of directors to up full-year guidance for adjusted EBITDA from above $28.1 million (€25 million) to higher than $30.4 million (€27 million).
lastminute.com group launched its new strategy, which it has since characterized as Travel & Media, at the end of 2015 with the aim of providing long-term growth.
Rather than just concentrating on traditional bookings the company also wants to own the advertising and content space around its 43 million monthly unique visitors. It is a path that many companies, including Expedia Inc. and the Priceline Group, have followed over the years.
Non-transactional business, which can be highly profitable, now makes up around 19.5 percent of group revenue.
Cannavale said: “The successful implementation of our Travel & Media model [confirms] the vision behind the lastminute.com acquisition. It will take a long time to fully exploit the potential of such an optimized business mix but short-term achievements are really encouraging and in line with ambitious management expectations.
“Our more than healthy and robust financial structure enables the Group to keep looking at new investment opportunities to fulfil our objectives. Our solid track record of deal sourcing, execution and integration should represent a reliable fundamental to support such a growth plan.”
Following the lastminute.com deal, the company launched a redundancy plan to more than halve the number of people working in the UK from 350 to 150. It employs more than 1,000 people in seven countries.
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