Cheapflights Ltd., ("Cheapflights" or "the Company") announces that it has appointed LongAcre Partners Limited ("LongAcre") to advise it in relation to its strategic options. Cheapflights is the leading UK and North American internet qualified lead generation company focused on air travel. It pioneered online flight price comparison in 1996.
As an internet company which has been consistently profitable since its launch in 1996, Cheapflights has achieved its dramatic growth, including in the United States, from internally generated cash flow. LongAcre Partners’ role will be to advise the Company on its funding strategy, including an assessment of the relative attractiveness of private equity investment; IPO; or strategic partnerships.
David Soskin, CEO of Cheapflights, commented: "We are looking to LongAcre to advise us on the optimum way to fuel our future growth, as well as to reward our shareholders and staff. We have no preconceptions as to the manner in which this can be achieved. Cheapflights is currently experiencing dramatic growth in Europe and North America. In considering our strategic options, LongAcre will take into account not only our shareholders and dedicated employees, but also the interests of our millions of users and the hundreds of travel industry advertising partners whose loyalty has been such a vital component of our success to date."
Commenting further, Eric Lawson-Smith, Managing Director of LongAcre Partners added: "Cheapflights is one of the UK’s most successful online properties. It is one of very few European internet companies to have been truly successful in the demanding US market. Its strategic position as one of the most active providers of qualified leads to the travel industry places the Company firmly at the heart of the most exciting and valuable part of the internet value chain. Cheapflights’ proven international business model and blue-chip customer base makes it an ideal platform for further international expansion. Cheapflights is one of the most successful internet vertical search and qualified lead generation players operating on both sides of the Atlantic. We are delighted to be advising the Company at this exciting stage in its development."
Founded in 1996 and profitable since launch, Cheapflights (cheapflights.com) is the UK’s leading UK flight price comparison website and pioneered the travel price comparison model on the Internet. It also introduced the pay-per-click business model to the UK in 2000.
Cheapflights is one of the few British internet companies successfully to establish an operation in the USA Cheapflights' US site. Launched in May 2003, and currently with 2.6 million unique users a month, Cheapflights' US site is already in the top 13 US travel sites (Hitwise US).
In April 2007, Cheapflights launched in Canada.
Cheapflights does not sell any flight deals or travel products. Each day, it sorts millions of flight prices from hundreds of travel partners worldwide. It then publishes a filtered current list of the best deals. These deals can be accessed online or by telephone direct with the advertiser from links or information on our site. This makes Cheapflights one of the most comprehensive independent online publishers of flight deals available. It also has well established opt-in subscription weekly newsletters on both sides of the Atlantic with over 4 million subscribers. The Company has launched UK and USA "Flight News" blog sites. These have become major interactive communities to inform and assist travel consumers on both sides of the Atlantic.
Hitwise's statistics show Cheapflights as being the UK's top vertical search and price comparison site for flights for the past 17 quarters. Cheapflights now accounts for just under 1% of all UK PPC advertising and 3.2% of all UK online travel display adverts according to recently released IAB figures. The Company's unique user numbers reached almost 6 million globally in January 2007.
Cheapflights estimates that it generated travel product sales of over US$1.8 billion for its advertising partners in 2006. These advertisers read like a Who’s Who of the travel world - ranging from British Airways, Thomson, Expedia, Travelocity, TUI and Thomas Cook to specialist operators like STA Travel, Mark Warner and Iglu.com.
In January 2007 Cheapflights invested in the Icelandic global flights planner, dohop ltd and is represented on the dohop Board. The dohop.com free website enables travellers to research available flight routes and scheduled departures and arrivals worldwide and operates as a separate business to Cheapflights. It facilitates journey planning and is particularly helpful for finding unusual flight connections.
Cheapflights' status as an independent online travel price search and comparison and travel news site makes it a natural starting point for finding travel deals and up-to-date travel industry information from a neutral source on both sides of the Atlantic.
About LongAcre Partners Limited
LongAcre Partners is one of Europe’s leading independent corporate finance advisory houses focused on the internet and media markets. Having completed over €4.5 billion of transactions in 2006, LongAcre Partners has extensive experience of financing advisory and M&A transactions in consumer internet and online information markets. In this area, LongAcre Partners has recently advised on the £175m sale of Friends Reunited to ITV, £210m sale of internet price comparison site uSwitch to EW Scripps / Shopzilla, sales of internet price comparison companies SimplySwitch and Shopping.net, $565m IPO of Trader Media East, €480m acquisition and recapitalisation of EurotaxGlass’s by Candover and £505m recommended offer by Informa for Datamonitor.
LongAcre Partners Limited
Eric Lawson Smith, Managing Director
T: +44(0)20 7759 4650.