Airfare comparison website Skyscanner is set to be acquired by Chinese online travel agent Ctrip, following the signing of an agreement with the majority shareholders of Skyscanner Holdings Limited. The acquisition has been valued at approximately £1.4 billion (US$1.74 billion) and is expected to close by the end of 2016 subject to customary closing conditions.

Under the terms of the acquisition, all majority shareholders’ shares in Skyscanner will be acquired by Ctrip, with the travel service provider also offering to acquire all remaining shares. The Edinburgh-based company’s current management is set to continue to manage Skyscanner’s operations independently as part of the Ctrip group.

“Skyscanner is one of the largest travel search platforms in the world,” said James Liang Jianzhang, co-founder and Executive Chairman of Ctrip. “This acquisition will strengthen long-term growth drivers for both companies. Skyscanner will complement our positioning at a global scale and Ctrip will leverage our experience, technology and booking capabilities to Skyscanner’s.”

Headquartered in Shanghai, travel service provider Ctrip offers accommodation reservations, transportation ticketing, packaged tours and corporate travel management.

“Ctrip is the clear market leader in China and a company we can learn a huge amount from,” said Skyscanner co-founder and CEO, Gareth Williams. “Ctrip and Skyscanner share a common view – that organising travel has a long way to go to being solved. To do so requires powerful technology and a traveller-first approach.

“In taking the next step to achieving our goal, Skyscanner will remain operationally independent and our growing global team will continue to innovate and deliver the products travellers know and love.”;