It is a two-horse race now in the online travel booking world: Expedia is buying Orbitz for about $1.6 billion in cash. This comes after Expedia announced that it was buying Travelocity last month for a paltry $280 million.
Shares in Expedia rose nearly 10% in pre-market trading, while Orbitz rose over 21%.
- Expedia will acquire all of Orbitz’s brands, including consumer brands Orbitz, ebookers, HotelClub, and CheapTickets.
- It will offer $12.00 per share in cash, a premium of about 29% over the average share price for the five trading days up to and including February 11, 2015.
- The deal is still pending shareholder approval and approval by regulatory authorities.
“We are attracted to the Orbitz Worldwide business because of its strong brands and impressive team. This acquisition will allow us to deliver best-in-class experiences to an even wider set of travelers all over the world,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, President and Chief Executive Officer, Expedia, Inc.
“From the flagship Orbitz.com brand, to other well-known consumer brands such as CheapTickets, ebookers and HotelClub and the business-to-business brands Orbitz Partner Network and Orbitz for Business, the Orbitz Worldwide team has built a devoted customer base and we look forward to welcoming them to the Expedia, Inc. family.”
“Our mission at Orbitz Worldwide has been to build our brands to be the world’s most rewarding places to plan and purchase travel,” said Barney Harford, Chief Executive Officer, Orbitz Worldwide. “We’re excited for Orbitz Worldwide to join the Expedia, Inc. family and for our teams to work together to further enhance the offerings we provide to our customers and partners.”
An official at a competitor to Orbitz told Skift in early January that it was an open secret that Orbitz has been engaged in a process to be acquired for some time, although the activity now appears to have entered a more formal stage. Market conditions might made this a relatively attractive time to sell. Travelocity’s 2013 decision to outsource its operations to Expedia Inc., and then Expedia’s purchase of it last month gave it even more clout with hoteliers, and put increasing pressure on Orbitz to find an exit.
Expedia was not the only bidder for Orbitz, but the rivals have not yet been determined.