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Ctrip.com International, Ltd., a China’s online travel services provider having $20 billion worth of market capitlization, is reportedly about to invest around $100 million in Gurgaon headquartered online food delivery and restaurant search platform Zomato, as part of a upcoming financing round, which could go up to $400 million (Rs 2,800 crore), valuing the startup at $1.8-2 billion.

The sources, according to the report, added that the transaction is likely to close in two weeks.

Ctrip, which has just one investment in online travel agency MakeMyTrip, is a Nasdaq-listed firm founded in 1999 by James Liang, Neil Shen, Min Fan, and Qi Ji. It is currently the largest online travel agency in China.


Notably, if Ctrip makes an investment in Zomato then it will be the firm’s first such bet outside of travel services.

For Zomato, if the deal with Ctrip goes through, it will help the Deepinder Goyal-led company to expand and grow aggressively in international markets.

“The discussions with Ctrip are in the last leg, with only the final amount yet to be decided. It is likely to be around $100 million. While the investment is purely financial, the two companies may explore synergies, which will be more strategic in nature going forward,” reported Samidha Sharma of Times of India, quoting a source privy to the development.

Ctrip, which acquired Scottish travel site Skyscanner for $1.7 billion two years ago, also owns Tours4Fun, travel research site Trip.com and Trip by Skyscanner. It’s ranked among the top four online travel agencies worldwide along with Expedia, TripAdvisor and The Priceline group.

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Interestingly, Ctrip known for its advocacy for scientific management in using rigorous data analysis in managerial decision making. One such example of the is the randomized control trial Ctrip ran on ‘Telecommuting’, also called as telework, which means working from home, mobile work, remote work, and flexible workplace. Telework is a work arrangement in which employees do not commute or travel to a central place of work, such as an office building, warehouse, or store.

Most recently, Zomato has acquired Bengaluru-based startup TongueStun Food for about $18 million marking the company’s 12th acquisition deal globally.

Zomato, which provides in-depth information for over 1.4 million restaurants across 23 countries, had last raised $200 million in Series-I round led by Ant Financial, in February this year. The company has so far raised a total of $443.8 million in ten rounds, as per data by Crunchbase.

Zomato is behind only by Swiggy, which has recently raised $210 million in Series-G funding round led by DST Global and Naspers, in June this year. Swiggy has also raised a total of $465.5 million, a very close figure to Zomato’s funding.

In fiscal 2018, Zomato had a revenue of $74 million while for the previous fiscal, its revenue was $51 million with a reported loss of $54 million.

[Top Image – FinancialTribune.com]

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