Nasdaq-listed Ebix, also the parent company of EbixCash (earlier) ItzCash, has bought two Indian companies in luxury travel space — Mercury Travels , and Leisure Corp — for a cumulative amount of approximately $14.2 million, to create a new travel division, called Mercury. The acquisitions were made through Ebix’s Indian subsidiary, EbixCash- which runs the financial services platform baring the same name.
Incorporated in 1948 as an Oberoi Hotel Group Company, Mercury is a luxury travel brand with a pan India Network of 40 Preferred Sales Agents (PSAs), 20 Branch offices across 16 major cities in India, 350 employees, and an Extended reach in international markets through marketing offices in London, Hamburg & Frankfurt. Amongst other travel related services like Events based travel and insurance, Mercury also has a Foreign Exchange business serviced through its AD-II license issued by the Reserve Bank of India. The company also owns an adventure hotel property through its Mercury Himalaya Expo joint venture. Mercury has multi-year contracts and associations with airlines, bus operators, hotels etc. besides having a client base that includes leading names like the Oberoi Hotels chain and the Mahendra Group. Mercury also has 54 franchisee partnerships for undertaking money-changing activities, with leading hotels like Hyatt, Oberoi, Imperial etc.
Incorporated in 1997, Leisure Corp is into Events related travel space (MICE) & luxury trains and luxury travel, with a focus on the insurance and financial sector & inbound luxury travelers. The company also specializes in creating customised packages for the sports travelers, with exclusive travel agent rights from India for premier sports events held across the world like the recent FIFA Football World Cup in Russia and the upcoming 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in London. Leisure Corp has exclusive tie-ups for luxury Train travel in India with Palace on Wheels, Maharaja’s Express and Golden Chariot. Leisure Corp has a client base spread across the insurance and finance sector in India, including Companies like ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Yes Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, Max Life, ICICI Assets Management, GE and Honda etc.
Post closure of acquisition, Ebix will consolidate these two acquisitions into its financial exchange platform EbixCash. “The acquisition of the omnichannel business would further strengthen Ebix’s position in the financial exchange market in India, as travel transactions can be one of the key areas of any leading financial exchange, with an estimated user base of 600 million in India alone,” the company said in a statement.
Mercury’s forex business will be integrated into EbixCash’s existing forex exchange business. The acquisition of Mercury and Leisure Corp will increase the employee strength of Ebix in India by around 400 employees to approximately 7,600 employees.
“The new travel exchange named Mercury – An EbixCash Luxury initiative, will focus on the luxury, events and sports related traveler and will be led by the Leisure Corp Founder Naveen Kundu,” the company said in a statement. It added that the new division will have Mercury Travel’s entire corporate, leisure & adventure related travel business with the exception of its Forex business; Leisure Corp’s entire sports and events related travel business (MICE), and Via.com’s events based travel business (MICE).
Ebix said in a statement that with the creation of this new luxury Mercury division, it will now have two brands in travel, focused on different niche audiences – Via and Mercury.
In November 2017, Ebix had acquired Indian online travel agent (OTA) Via.com for approximately $74.9 million to enter the travel segment, expand geographies and enter South East Asia (SEA) region, and further strengthen Ebix’s position in the Financial Exchange market in India. Ebix had consolidated Via into its own EbixCash platform.