Travelocity snaps up Site59.com for $43m

Cash purchase

Travelocity is beefing up its last minute bargain basement travel capacity with the acquisition of Site59.com.

The online travel giant is paying $43m cash for Site59, which provides the "engine" (aren't we supposed to call this "platform" nowadays?) for last minute offerings on other north American sites, including Travelocity. This is characterised as an ASP offering by Site59's majority owner, iFormation. The clever thing that Site 59 does is to aggregate surplus inventory - from hotels, airlines and the like - and repackage them into mini-holiday breaks.

Site59 was set up as recently as May 2000 by the Boston Consulting Group, a shareholder in iFormation, alongside Goldman Sachs and General Atlantic Partners. It sounds like the dotcom boom days all over again.

According to iFormation, Site59 has avoided the pitfalls of the dotcom era by its positioning as "a B2B2C (business to business to consumer) play". The company has 2,600 suppliers and 12 online travel distributors - but how many of the latter will last the course, with Site59 now under rival ownership? ®

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