Atlanta-based Ebix Inc.‘s proposed $338 million buyout of India-based travel marketplace Yatra Inc. has been scuttled as the industry endures a steep downturn during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yatra terminated the deal June 5, the day after the deadline to reach another extension, potentially threatening efforts by Ebix’s Indian subsidiary, EbixCash, to consolidate the fragmented Indian travel booking market and build a business worthy of its own initial public offering within the world’s second largest nation.
India-based EbixCash represents more half of the company’s overall global revenues — $77.8 million out of $137.9 million in the first quarter of this year. Ebix Inc. operates insurance marketplaces in the U.S. as well as airport exchange counters, remittance services and travel marketplaces globally.
EbixCash had been growing at a breakneck pace until COVID-19 forced a near total lockdown of its largest market for nearly two months. At the same time, its remittance business was hit as Indian workers in the Middle East were sent home.
Still, in an earnings call last month, CEO Robin Raina said the pandemic presented an opportunity for companies growing by acquisition to pick up deals “that can be bought for a steal.”
Yatra would have been the company’s largest acquisition to date, though smaller purchases, like a $10 million buy of Indian bus booking and mobility management platform Trimax Inc., have gone ahead.