The race for consolidation in hotel-wholesaler sector has taken another step forward with the news that Australia-based Webjet plans to buy UK-headquartered JacTravel to create what the companies say is the number two player globally.

The acquisition follows the rapid expansion of market leader Hotelbeds Group, which recently announced deals to buy competitors Tourico Holidays and GTA to help cement its position.

Webjet, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, will pay $265 million (£200 million) for JacTravel. The deal will increase the number of directly contracted beds in Webjet’s WebBeds business to business portfolio from 10,000 to 17,000.

JacTravel itself had recently grown in size through the acquisition of rival TotalStay Group in 2015. JacTravel is currently owned by private equity firm Vitruvian Partners.

John Guscic, managing director of Webjet said: “This acquisition is transformational to WebBeds, creating the #2 B2B player globally and the #2 B2B player in the important European market. WebBeds has always focused on helping our clients succeed and enabling our partners to respond to fast-changing market trends.

“By consolidating with like-minded partners like JacTravel, we believe we will drive even greater synergies that will benefit the wider travel industry. JacTravel is a company we have worked with for many years, and we have the greatest amount of respect for their business.

“We look forward to working with the JacTravel team in the weeks and months ahead as we integrate our businesses and develop the best possible outcomes for all of our partners and clients.”

Terry Williamson, Chief Executive of JacTravel, said: “Our partnership with Vitruvian has been invaluable over the last three years in enabling JacTravel to achieve a step-change in its scale, technology, and geographical reach.  I thank the whole Vitruvian team for their unstinting support, encouragement and contribution.  The combination with Webjet is the next logical step in our global expansion vision which will enable us to offer even greater wider reach to our hotel partners and greater choice and value to our customers.”

As well as a business to business arm, Webjet also serves consumers. Once the deal closes at the end of this month, the business to business component would account for around 44 percent of the combined company’s total transaction value.

Photo Credit: Webjet is buying UK competitor JacTravel. Webjet has a large consumer business but is becoming a leading wholesaler, as well. Webjet