At a time when French entrepreneurs were starting to get all anxious about there being so few acquisitions by French companies in the local hi-tech market, Voyages-SNCF.com kicked it up a notch and announced that it was acquiring travel search engine Liligo.
The news officially broke this morning in La Tribune but without much detail. The official amount of the transaction has not yet been released, our sources are telling us it’s somewhere around 20 to 30 million euros. But obviously it’s still a bit early to tell regardless because a certain amount is dependent on Liligo’s performance for this year.
The start-up founded in 2005 by Pierre Bonnelli has been a bit of a success from the start. Roughly 100 million euros in sales generated with an annual growth rate of 100%, the start-up had been profitable since its founding. But the company isn’t just a pretty set of figures – Liligo has also been developing rapidly internationally with a local presence in multiple countries including Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Switzerland and the UK.
The 40-person company had raised 2 rounds of funding to date. The last round was 3 million euros raised in 2008 by French VC firm Alven Capital, Liligo’s initial investors, and Orkos Capital – who in just 2 years managed to see the company through a rather nice exit.
Seems like online travel and tourism – especially price comparison sites – may be preparing for a bit of market consolidation, especially in France. We’ve got Go Voyages, who has apparently expressed an interested in acquiring Opodo, and Axa also recently made an investment in Bravofly.
Liligo’s acquirer, Voyages-SNCF.com, became Groupe VSC in 2006. Today Groupe VSC is divided into 3 entities ; Voyages-SNCF.com for online train tickets, l’Agence Voyages-SNCF.com for flights, hotels, leisure, etc., and VSC Technologies for developpement and data hosting for Groupe VSC and its clients.
We’ve seen a few French companies get acquired recently, including PriceMinister and Exalead. Guess Liligo can now join the ranks. As far as French hi-tech is concernted, that makes 3 nice exits with quite a few more to go.