Priceline acquires car-rental firm TravelJigsaw as part of expansion drive

Priceline picked up another piece of the puzzle — TravelJigsaw — in its international expansion strategy.

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.

The online and over-the-phone car rental service could make a great stablemate for Priceline hotel websites and Agoda as they focus on growth in the European and Asia-Pacific markets.

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 and Agoda to build distribution.

Key questions looming will be the interplay between TravelJigsaw,, Agoda and, as well as what kind of response, if any, Expedia has to Priceline’s car-rental acquisition. and Agoda are hotel-only websites with no advertising business to distract customers from all-important booking conversions.

TravelJigsaw websites, such as 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 would begin referring customers to another website for a different product.

So, one can imagine a lot of cross-promotion between, Agoda and TravelJigsaw in various markets, if not some integration in the future.

Expedia Inc.’s Hotwire unit acquired a controlling interest in in 2008.

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.

Meanwhile, LastMinute brand Holiday Autos was up for sale last year, but no transaction resulted.

NB: Disclosure – former-Tnooz board member Philip Wolf is a TravelJigsaw board member.

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Dennis Schaal

About the Writer :: Dennis Schaal

Dennis Schaal was North American editor for Tnooz.



  1. Terry Grace

    i hope the service improves
    I rented a car in Ireland for week Oct 26 Nov 04 and paid $167.00 euro.
    When I got back to Canada I recieved my visa statement and found Budget had taken an additional $929.00 CAD to cover all the hidden costs not cover by Traveljgsaw.

  2. Frenk Gside

    From one side I hate Agoda and, they are everywhere and are expanding their business anywhere. And so I don’t even think that their prices are so affordable! Then we are talking about rental cars, and we’re not talking about hiring hotel rooms! They are two different concepts.

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  8. Ferry to Europe

    Why are still using car trawler if they aquired traveljigsaw.

    • Richard Eastes

      It could be contractual. Otherwise, it’s likely that they just don’t want to make any rushed decisions about changing what their customers are familiar with

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  10. Richard Eastes

    Colin, how’s the SEO on logan car hire?

  11. Steve Sherlock

    Hey Coliin, It must be oodles!

  12. Colin Boyd

    Very interesting! Carhire3000 launched around the same time as I was hired by Argus Car Hire/Cartrawler to sort out the SEO side of the business and Argus ended up beating them hands down on thousands of terms, wonder what the valuation of Argus/Cartralwer is?

  13. Steve

    Nice post thanks for the info. I found a site that has really cheap car hire Definitely worth a look at anyway.


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  15. Dennis Schaal

    Dennis Schaal

    Richard: Priceline has time to nurture — and scale.

  16. Dennis Schaal

    Dennis Schaal

    Steve: Priceline places very high value on SEO. It’s all about being fast and conversion. Hence the lack of advertising on and Agoda. The forumula is buy that consumer with search engine marketing, make the site very fast, and chalk up another booking.

    It looks like TravelJigsaw will fit nicely within Priceline’s overall culture.

    • steve sherlock

      Dennis: yeah good point: aka, low cost acquisition, try get repeat usage and therefore positive roi. plus cross sell with hotel content.

      that’s all ok at this stage of the evolution of the category given there are no famously well known brands. maybe there is just not enough differentiation for a car rental brand to come to the fore at this stage?

      though if any of the seo sites disappeared tomorrow i dont think consumers would blink an eye. they’d do a Google search and find an alternative in a minute. (very interchangeable)

      Though in my humble opinion its yesterdays strategy – i did it with other car rental start ups that i founded (including vroom) (which dominate oz&nz markets), and moved on as i think a niche focused brand will ultimately wins the day (at least for frequent renters)

      so with a bit of luck this might all change in the coming years, especially if some brands focus on niche markets of the most frequent bookers and the newbie seo renters are left to seo reliant sites?

      but talk is cheap – so we’ll see if anyone can “ship” on such an ambition.

    • Richard Eastes

      Dennis: My theory on their profit/SEO based acquisitions is that it’s difficult to put a value on SEO. It is something that needs to be nurtured over time.

      If you offered an expert $7 trillion dollars to give a website good search results overnight, they would fail. It is priceless. They would fail because SEO actions made today, sometimes don’t reach full benefit for over 12 months.

      “People enjoy chopping wood. In this activity, they see instant results.” – Albert Einstein

      PS. Nice blog.

  17. steve sherlock

    Glenn Fogel has done a couple other car rental acquisitions in the past. there’s another but i cant remember the name.

    congratulations to the jigsaw team. its a really good story to have grown the business, gotten good VC backing and now the holy grail acquisition by a win-win type company like priceline. would love to read the case study.

    i dont mean for this to sound the wrong way, but gee its amazing what a clunky broker type system, with ordinary branding but with excellent seo and very broad distribution can be worth.

    guess it just goes to show that profits is what its about if you want build a valuable business. i will take a leaf out of that book.

  18. Gavin Boswell

    @Richard I heard back in March that the company was valued at up to £150m. It was also bought by VC’s back in 2008 for 25m.

    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @gavin/richard – we’re working on the price. 🙂

      My questions are around why it bought a company like TravelJigsaw. Some suggest a company like CarTrawler, which is pure B2B tech, might have been a better fit?

      Or, indeed, HolidayAutos was up for sale in 2009 – although one can imagine why Travelocity/Lastminute didn’t want to sell it to a competitor.

    • Richard Eastes

      That’s an impressive evaluation. I wonder what their revenue was. Gavin, I like that you have chosen the UK outbound niche. Well done.

  19. Richard Eastes

    Very interesting news. I would LOVE to find out the approximate sale price!

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