A Southeast Asian online travel agency (OTA) behemoth has been quietly emerging without attracting too much attention, at least up until recently.
Traveloka, the Indonesian online travel startup backed by Expedia and Sequoia Capital, seems to have silently acquired three smaller rivals – PegiPegi in Indonesia, Mytour in Vietnam, and TravelBook in the Philippines – from Japanese firm Recruit Holdings for $66.8 million, according to a report by Daily Social.
The acquisition was first revealed by the Japanese firm in January although Traveloka’s name did not surface as the buyer during that time, as the three online travel agencies (OTAs) were acquired by a Singapore-registered firm, Jet Tech Innovation Ventures Pte Ltd.
The Daily Social report, however, has found links between Jet Tech and Traveloka. Among others, Jet Tech’s director Hendrik Susanto is currently chief strategy and investment officer of Traveloka. Traveloka and Jet Tech also share the same office address in Singapore while PegiPegi CEO Kevin Sandjaja and head of marketing Serlina Wijaya have been identified as former employees of the Indonesian travel tech giant.
KrAsia reached out to Traveloka for confirmation on the matter but the company said it cannot comment nor confirm the recent “acquisition rumor”.
Buying out the three rivals further gives the Indonesian travel tech major a stronger foothold in the Southeast Asia region. It further cements its position as the leading OTA platform in the region, operating in six countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam.
In announcing the deal in January, Recruit Holdings said it had decided to sell its three subsidiaries because of the competitive OTA services market in the ASEAN region and to refocus on its core business, which is developing labor SaaS products.
“In consideration of the competitive environment of the market surrounding online travel agency services in the ASEAN region, the company has reached the conclusion that maintaining and developing businesses in line with new strategies will lead to maximizing each company’s value,” Recruit Holdings said in the announcement.
The Recruit Holdings announcement also said Jet Tech was founded on October 20, 2017 as an investment holding company situated at 2 Shenton Way #18-01 SGX Centre I Singapore, with net assets of $1.
Traveloka raised $350 million in July 2017 in a funding round led by American travel Expedia, valuing the Indonesian startup at $2.1 billion. A report by The Information in October revealed that the company is currently in talks to raise a $400-million round that doubles its valuation to $4.1 billion.
A 2017 report by Google and Temasek Holdings Pte showed that Southeast Asia’s online travel market is expected to triple to $76.6 billion in 2025, from $26.6 billion in 2017.
Editor: Ben Jiang