Sabre, the owner of lastminute.com, has announced it is exploring strategic options that include a possible sale of the online travel and leisure retailer.
Founded in London by Martha Lane Fox - now Baroness of Soho - and Brent Hoberman in 1998, lastminute.com was bought by Sabre, privately-held owner of online travel company Travelocity, in July 2005 for £577 million.
Sabre said that it was reviewing its lastminute.com unit as part of its strategy to focus on its core business of providing technology to the travel industry.
“As part of Sabre, lastminute.com has significantly improved its technology and operations, and is now perfectly positioned to unlock its full growth and profitability potential,” said Sabre president and CEO Tom Klein.
Matthew Crummack, CEO of lastminute.com said he was looking forward to seeing the outcome of the review. He insisted that the company was even more relevant now with the growth of mobile devices.
“We have a clear strategy and core proposition to be the champion of last minute travel and leisure, and I’m pleased to say no one knows ‘last minute’ like we do,” he said.
“Today, with smartphones and tablets encouraging spontaneity like never before, we’re even more relevant. With more than six million Brits using mobiles to book getaway breaks on the day, we have seen mobile traffic and bookings increase significantly. It really does feel as if lastminute.com was made for mobile.”
Before it was acquired by Sabre, Lastminute.com floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2000. However, it did not make a net profit for five years after it listed, and posted losses of £26.5 million in February 2005.