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SA's Travelstart buys majority stake in SafariNow

SA's Travelstart buys majority stake in SafariNow

South African travel platform Travelstart has bought a majority stake in the Cape Town-based, with the acquisition of the 40-man team to help Travelstart fast-track the growth of its accommodation offering.

Both Travelstart and SafariNow started operations in South Africa in 1999. SafariNow will continue to run as a standalone business following the acquisition, the terms of which will not be disclosed.

The platform will stick to its core business of selling accommodation and retain its current brand, CEO and team.

Travelstart secured a US$40 million investment early last year from global technology investor Amadeus Capital Partners and mobile operator MTN, which it said at the time would enable it to enter new markets, extend its product offering and grow its market dominance throughout Africa in response to strong demand from a rapidly expanding middle class with internet access.

The SafariNow acquisition is part of this process, according to Travelstart founder and CEO Stephan Ekbergh.

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

"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."

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