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“It was during the hearing of the case that we spent a lot of time together,” says Kalra. In parallel, they also bumped into each other at a social gathering and their conversation went beyond the legal case to the future of the online travel business.It was then that “we talked about joining hands as we had a common ground and a clear vision,” he adds.For Kalra, the merger has perhaps been a natural evolution.“Entrepreneurship is all about rediscovering yourself. You have to keep evolving your business with time,” says Kalra as he sits back in the plush conference room of his Gurugram office, which has three tasteful Amit Pasricha photographs of Indian monuments on the walls.
“The last 12 months have seen heavy discounting in the hotel segment as competition between the two companies intensified,” says Aloke Bajpai, CEO & co-founder at Gurugram-based Ixigo, which connects travellers with content and deals from online and offline travel, transportation and hospitality businesses.
“Make My Trip and ibibo will have better pricing power because of higher market share.
The ability to get better and exclusive inventory will also increase,” says Bajpai.
“We even met their shareholders briefly, but talks did not fructify at that point in time.” A year down the line, the deal has been clinched and it is currently awaiting approval from fair trade watchdog Competition Commission of India.
Once the clearance comes in, Kalra will take over as group CEO and executive chairman of the combined entity and co-founder Rajesh Magow will be CEO India of Make My Trip.
Prior to joining Forbes, I have had stints with The Economic Times, Businessworld, India Today and Indian Express.