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Lastminute.com has bought the lastminute.de group of companies, to create the "leading online travel brand in Germany". The UK dotcom is stumping up €46.7m (£31m) for the group, of which £16m (€24m) is in cash and the rest is in new shares.

Lastminute.de is approximately half of the size of Lastminute.com's existing German business - together they will have pro forma annual revenues of €150m. The acquisition will improve lastminute.com's retail gross margin and enhance the delivery of operating profit from the German business for the current financial year, Lastminute.com says.

And of course it means that Lastminute now has complete ownership of "its" name in Germany.

Lastminute.de flogs flights and package holidays online. In its last financial year it produced €2.6m profit before tax. It had net assets of just €200K, a tiny sum for a firm turning over €50m a year.

Lastminute.com buys lots of companies. Most recently, in March, it bought Online Travel Corporation, a British rival, for £54.9m.

Shares fell 3p to 181p, down 1.63 per cent in morning trading. ®

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