Japan’s Recruit Buys European Restaurant Booking Service Quandoo For $219M

Restaurant reservation service Quandoo, a major European rival to OpenTable, is being acquired by Japan’s Recruit in a deal worth 27.11 billion yen, that’s around $219 million.

Berlin-based Quandoo, which was founded in 2012, took a strategic investment from Recruit — via its RGIP venture capital fund — in October, and now the Japanese company has returned to snap up the remaining 92.91 percent of the company to give it 100 percent ownership. Last year Quandoo closed its Series $25m growth financing round lead by Piton Capital, along with Holtzbrinck Ventures and DN Capital.

Quandoo is an online reservation system that is used by over 6,000 restaurants in 10 countries in Europe, South Africa, Lebanon and Singapore. The company said that it is seeing particular momentum in Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Turkey and Poland, but it did not provide more specific figures.

The deal is an interesting one because Recruit, as the name suggests, started out in the business of connecting job seekers with potential employers when it began life in 1960. It has since branched out to become a “global matching platform” that offers 10 different kinds of services, including HR, education, travel, housing and (in Japan) dining.

The deal for Quandoo is a move that Recruit said will expand its service and global reach as part of its “long term vision to become the number one group in global matching” across its spread of businesses. (Recruit wants to be the world’s top marketing business by 2030 and top HR connector by 2020, for example.)

Restaurant bookings are one area where Recruit sees potential growth. It said in announcement that Quandoo is well placed to develop in Europe, where it claimed that just 16 percent of all reservations are made online right now. “The [online reservation] market [in Europe] is expected to grow substantially going forward,” it added.

Quandoo closed $25 million in new funding last summer to increase the competition with OpenTable and expand into Asia and Latin America. Recruit is likely to help on that front, particularly in Asia.

Technology and food is fairly frenzied space right now. Rocket Internet and its FoodPand order-on-demand service went on an acquisition frenzy last month, buying up no fewer than nine rivals across the world. India’s restaurant guide Zomato has executed an aggressive global expansion plan, which has seen it roll into Europe and then the U.S. — it acquired IAC’s UrbanSpoon in the latter move. Then there’s Yelp, which last year bought Restaurant-Kritik in Germany and Cityvox in France.