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BlaBlaCar to acquire a ticket operator Busfor. Deal details

BlaBlaCar, a carpooling service, has announced the acquisition of a bus ticket operator Busfor, as BlaBlaCar reported to AIN.UA.

Deal

The amount of the deal is not disclosed. It is expected to be closed by the end of 2019 after regulatory approval. The company also did not disclose whether the deal was for cash or shares.

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Parties to the deal

Since its foundation in 2006, BlaBlaCar has raised $448.5 million, an investment valuation of the company is $1.6 billion. The service entered Ukraine in 2014, having acquired the local startup Podorozhniki.com for the price of $1 to $3 million. The total number of users is 80 million people in 22 countries.

Busfor is the largest bus ticket search and purchase service in Ukraine, Central, and Eastern Europe. Currently, more than 7,000 carriers have joined the platform, monthly sales amount to more than 700,000 tickets. The total offer available on the Busfor platform is over $4 billion. Busfor earned first money in 2010 under the name GillBus, a company with Ukrainian founders was engaged in the development. In 2012, the project was reorganized into a separate enterprise. In total, Busfor attracted $32.5 million in investments, the largest round was raised in 2016.

BlaBlaCar has 5 million active users in Ukraine. The monthly number of users of Busfor sites and applications, as well as of a network of 600 ticket agents is 7 million. They are divided by a region: Ukraine, Central, and Eastern European countries.

Deal result

For BlaBlaCar, this solution is part of an overall development strategy: the company aims to become a global marketplace for road travel by combining carpooling and bus offers on a single platform to give passengers a wide range of vehicles. It is convenient to travel by bus taking popular routes when the price remains affordable and the ticket itself can be purchased in advance. Carpooling offers are characterized by an infinite variety of routes, covering even unpopular destinations, while the cost of the trip remains low, and you can reserve a seat in a car at the last moment.

Busfor brand and services will continue to work.

  • BlaBlaCar users will eventually be able to book bus tickets on the BlaBlaCar platform.
  • Busfor partners will have access to BlaBlaCar’s passengers upon completion of technical integration in the 4th quarter of 2019.

The merger of BlaBlaCar and Busfor will not result in any downsizing of employees or termination of partnerships. Management will also retain its position but within the common structure.

Oleksandr Pavlovich, CEO of Busfor in Ukraine, noted that the deal will help to attract young people to bus transportation:

Bus transportation is one of the most affordable and flexible means of transport in Ukraine. However, the industry and its main players – carriers and bus stations – need to increase passenger flow, primarily by attracting young and active passengers.

Oleksiy Lazorenko, CEO of BlaBlaCar in Ukraine:

Our main goal is to give maximum travel opportunities to millions of our users by adding bus offers to the joint travel, so that everyone can choose the most suitable transport in a couple of clicks on their smartphone.

Nowadays, online sales in Ukraine still account for less than 10% of ticket sales. The main part is sold at bus stations, explains Nicolas Brusson, co-founder and CEO of BlaBlaCar.

BlaBlaCar and buses

This is not the first deal of such kind for BlaBlaCar. In 2018, carpooling has acquired the French bus operator Ouibus and launched the BlaBlaBus service. Now it is available in seven countries of Western Europe.

The integration of complementary transport solutions (carpooling and buses) will attract more users to the platform. This will make it easier for car owners to find fellow passenger and for carriers – to find passengers. Ultimately, both will be more efficient in filling vacant spaces.

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