Sabre sells off .com icon lastminute.com to Bravofly Rumbo for peanuts

In August, Sabre announced it was exploring a lastminute.com sale to focus on its core technology businesses, its travel network, airline solutions and hospitality business.

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Sabre Corporation is selling its flagging lastminute.com travel business to Bravofly Rumbo Group in a largely non-cash deal - it bought lastminute.com for almost £600 million in 2005.

Acceptance of the offer is subject to the completion of employee information and consultation processes, with closure of the deal expected in the first quarter of next year.

In August, Sabre announced it was exploring a lastminute.com sale to focus on its core technology businesses, its travel network, airline solutions and hospitality business. Sabre bills itself as the largest provider of services to the global consumer online travel sector, and handles over a third of the world’s travel agency transactions.

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. The value of the potential transaction to Sabre, it said, is around $120 million (£75 million), resulting primarily from the "transfer of commercial liabilities and additionally the value of an expanded long-term commercial agreement" - in which Bravofly Rumbo Group’s brands and lastminute.com would continue to use the Sabre global distribution system.

The transaction would not have a material effect on Bravofly Rumbo Group’s net cash position, said Bravofly. 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."

He said: "We believe in the value and strength of lastminute.com’s iconic brand, which is recognized by more than 90 percent of European consumers.”

Bravofly Rumbo Group is a Swiss-based provider in the online travel industry, using the Bravofly, Rumbo, Volagratis and Jetcost brands. It has websites in 35 countries, but it's main business is currently in Italy, France and Spain.

Lastminute.com was co-founded by Martha Lane-Fox (pictured).

Image credit: Martha Lane Fox

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