Expedia gets go-ahead for US$1.3 bln merger with Orbitz

September 17, 2015 09:43
An Expedia truck waits on passengers in a Canadian city. The world's biggest online travel services company by bookings has snapped up rival Orbitz for US$1.3 billion. Photo: CBS

Online travel company Expedia Inc. has won approval from US authorities to buy rival Orbitz Worldwide Inc. for US$1.3 billion.

The world's largest online travel services company by bookings did not have to sell assets to comply with antitrust laws, Reuters reports, citing the US Justice Department.

"We concluded that Expedia’s acquisition of Orbitz is not likely to substantially lessen competition or harm US consumers," Bill Baer, head of the Justice Department's antitrust division, said in a statement.

The Justice Department announced its decision after the stock market closed but expectation that the deal would be approved pushed Expedia's share price from about US$119 a share to more than US$125 a share in the late afternoon.

Expedia, which owns the website that bears its name as well as Hotels.com, Hotwire and other brands, recently acquired Travelocity.

Rival Priceline Group Inc. owns Booking.com, OpenTable and Kayak.

Expedia spokeswoman Sarah Gavin said that the company was "pleased" to win Justice Department approval. She did not say when the deal would close.

Expedia and Priceline face increasing competition from the likes of Google Inc, airlines and hotel chains which also sell itineraries on their websites.

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