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stephan-ekbergh

Travelstart acquires majority stake in accommodation site SafariNow.com

SA travel booking company Travelstart today announced that it has bought a majority stake in Cape Town-based SafariNow.com — South Africa’s largest accommodation booking website.

Travelstart founder and CEO Stephan Ekbergh was not immediately available for comment, but in announcement by Travelstart in a press release earlier today the company said it would not disclose terms of the acquisition.

It follows the news in February last year that the company had secured $40-million from Amadeus Capital Partners and MTN.

Read more: Travel booking site Travelstart lands $40m, asserts investor confidence

SafariNow.com, which was founded in 1999 (the same year as Travelstart — before the firm later moved from Sweden to South Africa), lists accommodation over both the informal (self-catering and vacation rentals) and formal sector (hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts).

We want to supercharge our accommodation offering says Travelstart founder on deal

The acquisition of SafariNow’s 40-man team sees Travelstart fast-track the growth of its accommodation offering, Travelstart said.

“We want to supercharge our accommodation offering and with more than 23 000 listings on SafariNow, we can give our customers much better choices,” said Swedish born Ekbergh.

Travelstart said SafariNow will continue to run as a standalone business and will stick to its core business of selling accommodation and retain its current brand, CEO and team.

“Travelstart shares our mission of transforming the travel-booking experience to be simple and powerful,” said Tom Williams, CEO of SafariNow.

“We’ve booked millions of bed-nights in the past 18 years and we’re excited to tackle this next chapter with a strong, supportive partner. It’s a major plus for establishments who list with us as it will result in greater exposure for their listing.”

The latest deal follows Travelstart’s acquisition in 2015 of Hong Kong-based social intelligence company called Satisfly.