The acquisition of WorldMate is a natural fit for Carlson Wagonlit Travel and corporate travel in general. Integrating WorldMate without turning off WorldMate's non-CWT travel management customers will be dicey.
A spokesperson for CWT said an official announcement could come today or tomorrow and a WorldMate spokesperson declined to comment.
CWT’s acquisition price of some $20 million for WorldMate was far below what Concur paid to acquire itinerary management service TripIt in January 2011.
Concur bought TripIt for $24.7 million in cash, stock worth $41.2 million, and “future contingent consideration” pegged at $28.9 million, which brings the tab to more than $95 million.
WorldMate received $8 million in funding in October 2008 from BlackBerry Partners Fund, according to CrunchBase, and powers Blackberry Travel.
Minnesota-based CWT’s acquisition of WorldMate would give it inroads with road warriors who may not work for current CWT clients.
WorldMate’s itinerary management apps, which are available for Blackberry, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 7.5 and higher, and website count some 3.7 million users, and had handled some 2.9 million itineraries midway through 2012, according to WorldMate statistics.
WorldMate also powers Blackberry Travel, giving CWT and WorldMate further advantages in the troubled Blackberry market.
“WorldMate and BlackBerry Travel aren’t identical,” a WorldMate spokesperson said several weeks ago. “The app is an all-in-one travel service for BlackBerry users and takes users to the Blackberry operating system.”
WorldMate’s free apps are robust compared with competitors such as TripIt, Sabre’s TripCase and Kayak’s MyTrips, offering a bevy of free itinerary management tools, including the ability to view LinkedIn connections in close proximity to upcoming trips. WorldMate also offers a premium version, WorldMate Gold, for $9.99 per year, much cheaper than the $49 annual fee for TripIt Pro.
CWT had already been working with WorldMate since 2010, enabling employees of CWT clients to obtain itinerary management services and alerts on CWT mobile platforms.
The WorldMate acquisition will undoubtedly give the travel management company further inroads into mobile.
Based in Palo Alto, California, and with an R&D center in Israel, decade-old WorldMate claims to be larger in TripIt, with its strength in international markets outside the U.S.
UPDATE: CWT made it official and announced late today it had indeed acquired WorldMate.
CWT said the WorldMate team would address all of CWT’s mobile offerings to improve them and to provide greater services to business travelers.
CWT says: “This acquisition will open up further opportunities for both business travelers and corporate customers. Business travelers will have access to a broader range of on-the-go services including airport parking, restaurant bookings, hotel reservations, ground transportation, and airline offers such as in-flight internet. Customers will benefit from a new approach to tackling issues associated with compliance. The ability to aggregate travel information from multiple sources means that customers will be able to gain increased visibility of overall travel spend as well as better track travelers for safety and security purposes.”
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