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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 26 March, 2003, 18:14 GMT
Lastminute buys car hire firm
Clive Jacobs of Holiday Autos (l), Lastminute.com bosses Martha Lane Fox and Brent Hoberman
Drive something lastminute - or a long-term holiday proposition?
Online retailer Lastminute.com has announced it will buy Holiday Autos, the world's biggest car rental broker, for up to 43m ($68m).

The deal also gives the car hire firm's co-founder and chief executive Clive Jacobs a seat on the Lastminute board alongside Allan Leighton.

Lastminute will hand over 16m in cash and another 23.7m in shares.

The other 3.3m depends on Holiday Autos fulfilling certain performance criteria, with 1.6m going directly to Mr Jacobs if he stays with Lastminute.com till March next year.

Lastminute.com slipped back to a pre-tax loss in the final three months of last year, having briefly made it into the black the previous three months.

A decade apart

In a statement, the two companies said the acquisition would "substantially increase the size and scale of Lastminute.com", as well as saving an estimated 4m a year.

Lastminute.com also said that it expected to perform in line with expectations in the second half of the year, saying that its primarily short-haul business was dodging the worst of the current travel market slump.

While Lastminute.com was a product of the 1990s IT boom, Holiday Autos is a child of the 1980s.

Mr Jacobs and business partner Nick Stolberg founded the firm in 1988, but went their separate ways in 1995.

Since then the two have been at daggers drawn, with Mr Stolberg starting a rival firm, Autos Abroad.




SEE ALSO:
Lastminute returns to the red
14 Feb 03  |  Business
Lastminute's long road to profit
22 Nov 02  |  Business
Lastminute breaks into profit
22 Nov 02  |  Business
The making of Martha
25 Jul 02  |  Business
Expedia enjoys profit spree
28 Jan 02  |  Business


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