lastminute.com is an online travel agency and e-tailer founded by Martha Lane Fox and Brent Hoberman in 1998 that became an icon of the UK internet boom of the late 1990s, floating at the peak of the dot com bubble. Many young employees lost a lot of money on the share price slump (see graph).
The company's headquarters are at 39 Victoria Street, London, and it was publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol LMC until its purchase by Travelocity for £577 million - the same amount of money it floated for in March 2000.
More recently, Sabre Holdings, which owns Travelocity, was acquired by Texas Pacific Group and Silver Lake Partners, two private equity firms. Since March 30, 2007, Sabre Holdings has officially come under private ownership, thus ending lastminute.com's life as part of a publicly traded company.
Even with the many ownership changes lastminute.com still continue to deliver their trademark subversive/quirky culture; via such devices as terming their customers 'fearless funmongerers', and creating a rock group - Release 41 (named after the current release of the lastminute.com website) consisting of staff from various lastminute.com European offices.
Lastminute.com have attracted much criticism on consumer sites and blogs regarding their association with highstreetmax.com, a brand owned by Adaptive Affinity, owned by US corporation Vertrue. Customers who have conducted transactions with Lastminute.com are subject to negative option selling , whereby if they click or do not unclick a certain box they find later that they were subject to unauthorised credit card withdrawals for membership schemes they did not sign up for, whose details they are not advised and whose supposed benefits they do not see. Lastminute.com only known comment is that this association gives Lastminute's customers a £10 discount, by means of a voucher, which also is mythical. This has attracted the attention of BBC Radio 4's consumer affairs programme You and Yours on January 30th 2008 and the consumer pages of The Daily Mirror in July 2008.