Yanolja completes $260 million purchase of Interpark assets

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Yanolja completes $260 million purchase of Interpark assets

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Yanolja has acquired 70 percent of Interpark's commerce business for 294 billion won ($260 million).
 
The hotel booking company signed a memorandum of understanding with Interpark, which is focused on concert and travel tickets, to buy 70 percent of an Interpark spinoff in October. The deal was finalized on Tuesday following two months of due diligence.
 
The spinoff manages e-commerce businesses including those related to plane ticket and art exhibitions ticket sales.  
 
Yanolja said it will provide "innovative services" for people throughout their journeys, from booking hotels to organizing activities by integrating technologies and services. Interpark sells the most flight tickets of all travel companies and has high brand loyalty, according to Yanolja.  
 
It added that it will also target inbound travelers fond of Korean culture by developing relevant travel packages.  
 
"The key to the latest acquisition is to grow Interpark into a global travel tech firm," said Yanolja CEO Kim Jong-yoon in a statement. Kim added Yanolja will preemptively respond to travel demand in the unpredictable Covid-19 travel market.  
 
Yanolja also plans to get involved in live commerce, which is similar to home shopping, but streamed online.  
 
"Finding a new owner by the first-generation e-commerce operators is due to the rapidly changing market environment," said Ahn Ji-young, an analyst at IBK Securities, in a report earlier this month.  
 
First generation e-commerce operators include Interpark and eBay Korea, which was acquired by Emart in June.  
 
"For them, which have reached the maturation stage, it's difficult to market aggressively." Ahn said, adding that the sales of first-generation e-commerce companies is seen as the last measure to survive while maintaining brand reputation.  
 
Started in 1997, Interpark is one of the oldest e-commerce sites in Korea.  
 
Unlike major players, Interpark was hit hard by the pandemic. Its shares fell more than 90 percent from their 2016 peak to a low in March last year. It reported a net loss of 25.8 billion won in 2020 from a net profit of 6.5 billion won a year earlier.  
 
Yanolja, founded in 2005, offers booking services for accommodations, transportation and leisure tickets. It also runs a solutions business that helps hospitality companies manage hotels more efficiently and provides customers with information via the cloud.  
 
The company received a $1.7 billion investment from the SoftBank Vision Fund in July.  
 
 
 
 
 

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]
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