Online travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com stepped up its expansion today by paying £16m (€22.8m) for a business set up just two years ago.
The purchase of Med Hotels, which resells rooms to tour operators on behalf of hotels, provides lastminute with access to around 1,500 resort-based properties, including in Spain, the Canaries, Cyprus and Portugal.
The Woking-based business – founded by John Kent and Ian Brooks – dates back to January 2001 when the pair started a call centre-based travel agency called Travelbargains. Med Hotels was then formed in July of last year.
As part of the deal, Mr Kent will join lastminute.com to lead its resort hotel contracting team.
Brent Hoberman, lastminute.com’s chief executive, said: “The combination adds significantly to our overall scale in this important product category and improves our consumer hotel offering.”
Lastminute has agreed to pay £8m (€11.4m) in cash and issue 2.9 million shares in order to buy the venture capital-backed business.
In the year to October 2002, Med Hotels and Travelbargains generated sales of £38.6m (€55m).