Priceline announced today that it acquired the Manchester, U.K.-headquartered TravelJigsaw, a multinational rental-car service, for an undisclosed sum.
TravelJigsaw’s management retains a minority stake in the company and will stay on to manage its next stage.
TravelJigsaw offers car rental services in 4,000 locations in 80 countries, with a heavy presence in Europe and Asia-Pacific.
The company portrays itself as the fastest growing online car-rental agency on earth.
TravelJigsaw offers customer support in 20 languages, and international customers can rent cars that are familiar to them in local markets through the company’s almost two dozen branded websites.
“International car hire is a very attractive market and TravelJigsaw has established one of the premier brands in the field,” says Glenn Fogel, Priceline’s executive vice president, corporate development. “We are pleased that the TravelJigsaw management team has elected to retain an ownership stake in the company as we move forward together.”
Gregory Wills, TravelJigsaw’s managing director, says the company will work closely with Booking.com and Agoda to build distribution.
Key questions looming will be the interplay between TravelJigsaw, Booking.com, Agoda and Priceline.com, as well as what kind of response, if any, Expedia has to Priceline’s car-rental acquisition.
Booking.com and Agoda are hotel-only websites with no advertising business to distract customers from all-important booking conversions.
TravelJigsaw websites, such as Carhire3000.com in the U.K., take a similar tack and are car-only websites.
Priceline President and CEO Jeffery Boyd, speaking at a J.P. Morgan technology conference yesterday, said it is possible that Booking.com would begin referring customers to another website for a different product.
So, one can imagine a lot of cross-promotion between Booking.com, Agoda and TravelJigsaw in various markets, if not some integration in the future.
It appears to be a smaller — and less global — business than TravelJigsaw.
CarRentals.comn has 15,000 on- and off-airport locations, compared with 40,000 for TravelJigsaw.
Disclosure: Tnooz board member Philip Wolf is a TravelJigsaw board member.