It's a thumbs up for Travelstart and Club Travel

The Competition Commission has approved the merger of retail giants Travelstart and Club Travel.

Travelstart’s plans to acquire Club Travel were announced in June. The merger is expected to push the OTA into the top three or four tier of largest consortiums in South Africa (see TNW June 19). 

The commission released a statement on October 7 saying it “had unconditionally approved the proposed merger whereby Travelstart intends to acquire Club Travel SA and Flightsite.”

The companies are currently busy with the transfer of the undisclosed sum that will close the deal and see Travelstart acquiring Club Travel and its subsidiaries in its entirety.

The commission found that because Travelstart is an online booking platform, with a focus on leisure travel, and Club Travel mainly provides corporate travel services, there was no conflict. “[Club Travel] also offers leisure travel services to a very limited extent although these services are not offered online and therefore are not comparable to the service offerings of OTAs such as Travelstart,” the commission said.

Regarding Flightsite, it found the self-service online travel portal to be flight specific (offering packages offline only) and only providing leisure travel services. The agency also operates through Pick n Pay, which is offline. “The proposed transaction is unlikely to result in a substantial revention or lessening of competition in any relevant markets,” it said.

“We are thrilled to welcome Club Travel to the Travelstart family,” said ceo of Travelstart, Stephan Ekbergh, adding that together the companies would continue to build the best places for people to plan, book and manage their trips.

Md and founder of Club Travel, Wally Gaynor, said Club Travel was delighted to join Africa’s leading online travel agency and knew that Travelstart’s knowledge and expertise would ensure a future for Club Travel in an environment that is increasingly dependent on technology.

A spokesperson at Travelstart confirmed that following the merger, Club Travel would continue to operate as a separate entity within the Travelstart group.