Rumors had abounded in recent months that Skyscanner was considering an exit, but when asked by VentureBeat in the wake of today’s acquisition news Williams didn’t confirm how close the company came to going for an IPO instead. However, he did suggest that the terms of the acquisition were what swung him toward selling rather than taking a chance on the stock market — operational independence was the name of the game here. “The combination of operational independence Ctrip affords us was (and is) extremely attractive,” Williams said. “This, combined with the incredible knowledge they bring to Skyscanner and their similar passion for solving the hard problem of travel search, meant it felt like a natural progression for Skyscanner.” While it was nice that a home-grown Scottish startup such as Skyscanner could lay claim to being one of the last few independent companies operating at any real scale in the industry, an exit of some description was inevitable. But had anything happened recently, economically or otherwise, to expedite the company’s decision to sell now? Not according to Williams, who told us that he’d known the people behind Ctrip for a number of years. Get the full story at VentureBeat Read also "Ctrip CEO on how it moved in to buy Skyscanner" at Skift and "Ctrip extends global reach with $1.7 billion Skyscanner acquisition"