HomeAway is continuing its European expansion with the acquisition of French market leader, Abritel.fr, for an undisclosed fee. This news comes at the same time as news that the founders of Alando (now eBay Germany) and Jamba!, (three brothers who founded the European Founders Fund GmbH), have become investors and advisors to the company.
Abritel.fr is HomeAway’s third acquisition in Europe, where the company also operates Holiday-Rentals.co.uk and FeWo-direkt.de.
The news follows HomeAway’s November 2006 announcement of $160 million in financing to fund global expansion initiatives including the purchase of top U.S competitor, VRBO.com. This was the largest private equity investment in an internet and software company worldwide in 2006. With the addition of Abritel.fr, HomeAway’s European subsidiaries now represent over 60,000 properties worldwide.
“At HomeAway we are committed to offering holiday home owners the most efficient way to market their property, and to helping travellers find the perfect holiday home rental. We focus on providing user-friendly sites and the largest, most diverse range of properties”, says Alexis de Belloy, managing director, HomeAway Europe. “Abritel.fr shares in this commitment and accelerates HomeAway’s efforts to bring holiday rentals to the mainstream travel industry.”
Created in 1987 by Christian Miquel, Abritel became an internet business in 1997 and is now the number one website for holiday rentals in France. In 2006, Abritel.fr represented 30,000 properties worldwide and received over 11 million visits. It will continue to run as an independent site, under the direction of de Belloy.
“Since its founding in 2005, HomeAway has become the worldwide leader in holiday rentals. We are proud to provide our customers with access to this global online community”, says Miquel. “HomeAway will enable Abritel.fr to grow the European market rapidly, providing our French and pan European homeowners the most cost-effective way to advertise to international travellers.”
Alexander Samwer, managing director of the European Founders Fund commented, “We see great potential in the online holiday rentals marketplace and are delighted to be working with HomeAway. As both investors in and advisors to the company, we look forward to working together to further develop the European market and HomeAway’s position as the leader in online holiday rentals.”