Skift Take

Vayant is a tech vendor that has never caught the imaginations and wallets of travel companies to the same degree as a few of its peers have. This has all the attributes of a soft landing.

PROS (Pricing and Revenue Optimization Solutions), a cloud software company, has bought Vayant Travel Technologies, a privately held flight-search technology vendor, for $35 million in cash.

It is not known how much money Vayant has raised since its founding in 2007. It attempted to raise $3 million a year ago, and had Series A and B rounds of an undisclosed amount, according to Crunchbase.

In the past, investors in Vayant have included reportedly Neveq and Cape Capital and, reportedly, Lufthansa, but it isn’t known if these were still investors as of the close of this transaction.

Executives say that Vayant’s shopping, pricing, and merchandising technology complements PROS artificial intelligence (AI)-based dynamic pricing and revenue management tools.

PROS, a 1,100-employee public company based in Houston, says it had done projects alongside Vayant for two shared travel clients, and that was how it got to know the company. The companies have a number of overlapping customers, and there are hopes for cross-selling.

Vayant, based in Sofia, Bulgaria, has mostly travel clients. One of its biggest customers is Lufthansa, which has used it as a vendor to help power its direct connections with travel agencies that bypass legacy travel technology middlemen. Vayant’s platform helps Lufthansa control how its airfares are distributed through metasearch engines and online agency websites.

In January, British Airways announced that it was hiring Vayant, along with other vendors, to pull off a similar direct distribution feat for itself.

Vayant also helps Lufthansa and other airlines distribute their sales offers to metasearch marketplaces like Momondo, DoHop, and GoEuro, enabling the deep-linking in the search results to have the booking executed on an airline’s own site. But Vayant hasn’t had nearly as much growth in this area as major metasearch and other technology distribution companies, such as Farelogix and — for a different type of product — Peakwork.

PROS plans to expand on the sales of those services to airlines, adding in its revenue management solutions, to “fulfill the airline modern commerce fantasy” — such as by letting airlines upsell travelers via any device at any point.

PROS, whose revenue comes half from travel and half from non-travel clients, has been moving its services to the cloud, which has led to several years of operating and net losses. It had to borrow money to do the Vayant acquisition.

PROS says there will be no layoffs and Vayant’s 92-person team will join the company, while the Vayant brand name will disappear.

“The deal will accelerate our ability to complete our offer optimization vision by having these additional capabilities,” says Surain Adyanthaya, senior vice president of strategy at PROS.

Vayant’s competitor set include Farelogix, a privately held company that has had a much longer list of travel clients for its flight-search technologies. Farelogix has also had more momentum than Vayant — it’s achieved Level 3 certification with the New Distribution Capability standards managed by the world’s largest airline lobbying group, while Vayant is still at a less sophisticated Level 2. Farelogix, with a significantly larger workforce, has also done deeper integration work on behalf of those companies than Vayant has generally.

Other competitors include Travelfusion, an Israel-based tech company wholly owned by Ctrip, the Chinese tech giant.

It is very possible that this transaction was a soft land for Vayant. In 2010, Vayant was considered a peer to ITA Software when the U.S. Department of Justice was attempting to determine if Google’s acquisition of that travel technology provider for $700 million would hurt competition in the market. Vayant had been in favor of the deal, but seven years on, the deal is in not even in the conversation with what ITA Software fetched from Google.

PROS CEO Andres Reiner says that the merger with Vayant would lead to “an end-to-end offer optimization solution” that includes PROS’s AI-based tools designed to “help travel companies deliver personalized offers.”

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Photo credit: Vayant offers several tools for airlines, including help with powering the direct distribution of airlines like Lufthansa. Vayant

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