DOJ Won’t Challenge Expedia-Orbitz Merger

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The Justice Department will not challenge Expedia’s $1.6 billion acquisition of Orbitz, it said Wednesday.
     The merger between the online travel booking giants is expected to be completed by the end of the year. According to Forbes, the travel market is valued at $1.3 billion annually and Expedia commands five percent of the market. Orbitz is the third largest player in the domestic U.S. market.
     The DOJ’s Antitrust Division concluded a six-month investigation into acquisition. Lawyers and economists from the Antitrust Division reviewed tens of thousands of business documents, analyzed transactional data from the merging companies and from other industry players and interviewed over 60 industry participants of various types and sizes as part of the investigation.
     The DOJ found that the merger is not likely to result in new charges for customers using Expedia or Orbitz; that commissions Expedia and Orbitz negotiate with airlines, car rental companies and hotels are a small source of bookings and should have no impact; and that the online travel booking business is rapidly evolving.
     “The Antitrust Division investigated the concerns that have been expressed about this transaction,” said Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division in a statement. “We took those concerns seriously and factored into our analysis all of the information provided by third parties. At the end of this process, however, we concluded that the acquisition is unlikely to harm competition and consumers.”
     On Jan. 23, 2015, Expedia bought Travelocity for $280 million and in 2014 acquired Australia-based Wotif Group for $612 million and the French car rental company Auto Escape, according to Forbes.

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