Despegar set to buy Brazilian OTA ViajaNet for circa $15m
LatAm: Online travel company Despegar has announced that it has agreed to buy Brazilian online travel agency ViajaNet for approximately $15 million.
The acquisition is the fifth purchase that Despegar has made in Latin America and the third in Brazil in the last two years. That includes fintech firm Koin in August 2020 and latterly in March, channel manager Stays.net for $3.1 million to strengthen its performance in the vacation rental segment.
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions but is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022. Both companies will continue to operate under their respective brands and work independently.
Despegar will use the acquisition as an opportunity to cross-sell its accommodation portfolio and other non-air travel products to ViajaNet’s existing customers. Given that 98 per cent of gross bookings were in the air segment of the Brazilian travel market in 2021, there is plenty of scope for further investment and growth in the accommodation and hospitality segments in Brazil in particular.
The company’s newly appointed director of Sourcing Air, Daniela Araújo, has also hinted in a so-called Brazil Plan that Despegar will employ an aggressive expansion strategy in Brazil over the coming year.
Marcelo Grether, chief M&A and new business officer at Despegar, said: “The acquisition of Viajanet, our third in the last two years in Brazil, is another step in our regional consolidation strategy that will enable us to deploy more of Despegar’s higher-margin non-air inventory through a new brand and its customer base while bolstering our team in the country. We expect to capture other significant synergies by leveraging Despegar’s technology platform to enhance Viajanet’s conversion rates and performance marketing capabilities, among other benefits.”
ViajaNet CEO Paulo Nascimento said: “We are thrilled to be joining the team at Despegar, a leading player in LatAm’s travel market. Becoming part of Despegar will give our customers access to a larger and more diverse inventory of travel products while also benefitting from the innovative technological capabilities behind its leading travel site.”
ViajaNet previously raised $6.5 million in an investment round led by previous investors at the end of 2020 to help it navigate its way through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Despegar now operates in 20 countries, serving more than 29 million customers through its group brands, such as Best Day, Viajes Falabella, Koin and Stays.net.