Completion Of $1.6B Orbitz, Expedia Merger Further Whittles Down Online Travel Agency Options

screen-shot-2015-02-12-at-9-15-21-amDespite the protests from the leading hotel industry group that a merger between Expedia and Orbitz would concentrate too much of the travel-booking market in one company’s hands – leading to fewer choices for consumers – the two companies have received regulatory approval and completed their $1.6 billion marriage today.

Orbitz announced today that Expedia had officially completed its acquisition of the smaller booking site and its related brands.

The transaction, which is valued at $12 a share, brings brands such as CheapTickets, ebookers and HotelClub under the Expedia umbrella, which already includes brands, Hotwire, Travelocity and Trivago.

“We are pleased to welcome Orbitz Worldwide to our family of leading travel brands,” Dara Khosrowshahi, Expedia, Inc. Chief Executive Officer said in a statement. “Our mission is to revolutionize travel through the power of technology.”

The now completed transaction essentially leaves only Priceline – which not only runs its namesake site, but also,, and others — as a major competitor in the online travel agency (OTA) field.

Back in January, Washington-based Expedia purchased Travelocity for $280 million. The two companies had worked together since 2013.

The now slimmed down OTA field was a major point of concern for the American Hotel & Lodging Association which earlier this year warned that the deal between Expedia and Orbitz would create a duopoly that controls 95% of the market.

“We believe this transaction and the resulting consolidation of the online travel marketplace will result in significant negative consequences,” says Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of AH&LA, in a statement, “particularly for consumers, but also for the large number of our members who are small business owners and franchised properties.”

In spite of those concerns, regulators granted Expedia and Orbitz permission to merge on Wednesday.

Expedia’s Khosrowshahi says now that the marriage is complete, the new company will work to “accelerate the pace of innovation to deliver even better customer experiences” to customers.

[via Reuters]

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