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Here's a bit more detail:
While it's not particularly surprising that Lastminute.com, the "on a whim" travel group, has snapped up a rival business, it surprised a host of German holidaymakers who thought Lastminute owned it already. Confusion about the two companies has persisted since Lastminute.com entered the German market four years ago, as the two companies share the same name.
...Overall the dotcom darling's lastest buy appears sensible and establishes it as one of the biggest online travel and leisure groups in Germany. Germany is also the largest single European travel market.
Telegraph.co.uk [money.telegraph.co.uk] (second article on the page)
They did not buy the domain with some business but rather the business including the domain.
lastminute.de is one of the most successful companies in the german online travel market with massive revenues. As you might know germans travel more than any other people because they commonly have 6 weeks of vacation per year.
So lastminute.com basically wants to get a much bigger marketshare with this aquisition.
"Passenger numbers in the business have been growing since 2001 and during the year to 31 December 2003 total transaction value (TTV) amounted to ¤49.3 million from 115,000 customers. The lastminute.de businesses achieved gross margins of approximately 16% in the last reported financial year to 31 December 2003. For the year to 31 December 2003 lastminute.de delivered ¤2.6 million of profit before tax and had net assets ¤0.2 million." so it was quite a business but probably not a business that lastminute.com had an interest in except for the domain name.
@mac: my company is always looking for talented coders and our employees get the full 30 (working-days) holidays. shall I drop you a mail - still got your business-card ;-)