Flipkart sells Cleartrip Middle East to local player Wego

Flipkart, one of India’s oldest e-commerce players, said it will sell the Middle East business of Cleartrip, acquired by the company last year, to local rival Wego as part of its strategy to focus on the Indian market.

The financial details of the transaction were not revealed.

Cleartrip, founded in 2006, is one of the earliest ticket-booking portals in India, but was sold to Flipkart last year in the aftermath of extreme financial turmoil and stress in the industry due to COVID-19, as well as rising competition.

Media reports pegged the company’s valuation at around $40 mln, a fraction of what it was valued at in the preceding rounds of fund-raising.

Flipkart said the sale was in line with its “strategic priorities and focus on the Indian market”.

“The acquisition of Cleartrip’s Middle East business by Wego provides continuity to its business, and we believe that they are the right partners to boost its next phase of growth,” it added.

Cleartrip had entered the Middle East region in 2010 and acquired Riyadh based Flyin.com in 2018, while Wego is one of the leading players in online travel industry in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Both Cleartrip Middle East and Wego have their regional headquarters located in Dubai Internet City.

The transaction also includes the sale of Flyin.com and a technology co-operation agreement between Wego and Flipkart.

The Boards of Directors of Wego and Flipkart have approved the transaction, which is expected to close in the second half of 2022.

“Cleartrip and Flyin are both product-driven companies with best-in-class OTA technology that have established strong brands and strong positions across the Middle East,” said Wego.

“The Middle East is set to be one of the most exciting growth stories of the next decade with the travel & technology sectors taking center stage and with the Wego group playing a very crucial role. This acquisition will significantly increase our scale and capabilities and will strengthen our ability to partner and collaborate across our region.

“We are also excited to begin a multi-faceted partnership with Flipkart that will involve us sharing a brand across regions and co-operating on technology,” it added.

Wego operates the largest online travel marketplace in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and has tie-ups with most airlines, hotel chains and online travel agencies.

Founded in 2005, Wego is dual-headquartered in Dubai and Singapore and is backed by investors including Tiger Global Management, Crescent Point, Square Peg Capital, Middle East Venture Partners and the MBC Group.