Lastminute.com snapped up for £76m by Swiss travel firm Bravofly Rumbo

Lastminute.com, one of the brands that came to define the internet boom of the late 1990s, has been sold to Swiss travel firm Bravofly Rumbo for $120m (£76m) by its US owner.

Lastminute.com: sold to Swiss firm Bravofly Rumbo for $120m
Lastminute.com: sold to Swiss firm Bravofly Rumbo for $120m

US technology firm and Travelocity owner Sabre Holdings announced Lastminute was up for sale in August.

It acquired the online late-holiday business in 2005 in a deal that valued the firm at £577m, way short of the £768m value attached to the business when it floated on the London Stock Exchange in March 2000.

Lastminute was founded by Martha Lane Fox and Bret Hoberman in October 1998 and became one of the brands that defined the dotcom bubble, which by 2001 had burst.

Lane Fox stepped down as managing director in 2003, while Hoberman remained until 2006, when he relinquished his chief executive role.

Following its flotation, Lastminute failed to make a net profit, reporting a pre-tax loss of £26.5m in February 2005.

Yesterday’s deal will see Bravofly Rumbo acquire all Lastminute’s global operations, which span the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy, with the acquisition set for completion in the first quarter of 2015.

Fabio Cannavale, Bravofly Rumbo Group’s chairman, said: "Lastminute.com is the perfect fit for Bravofly Rumbo Group.

Its business complements and expands our offering in Europe and, with its strong presence in the hotel and vacation sector, diversifies our product revenue streams.

"We believe in the value and strength of Lastminute.com’s iconic brand, which is recognised by more than 90% of European consumers."

Last month, Lastminute launched a campaign targeting Christmas party-goers and promoting its Top Secret Hotels app.

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