Expedia Buys Orbitz for $1.6 Billion

Popular online travel sites converge

Feb 12, 2015
Outside Magazine
expedia orbitz travel

Expedia bought Travelocity last month and the Wotif Group in November.    Steven Byles/Flickr

Expedia will soon became the biggest player in the online travel retail market. The company announced today that it will buy Orbitz Worldwide for $1.6 billion, Skift reports. In addition to picking up Orbitz.com in the deal, Expedia will acquire Orbitz-run sites CheapTickets, HotelClub, and eBookers.

The announcement was a surprise to industry experts, Skift reports. It comes less than a month after Expedia acquired Sabre Corp.’s Travelocity (a smaller $280 million deal), according to Reuters.

The mergers mark a significant consolidation of the online travel industry. Expedia already owns Hotwire, Hotels.com, and Trivago and has now knocked two of its former rivals out of the game.

Expedia’s biggest competition now is Priceline, which acquired Kayak.com in 2013 and OpenTable in 2014 and is the second-largest company in online travel. The third-largest company, TripAdvisor, has been gobbling up smaller, more boutique brands in the past few years, like Jetsetter, GateGuru, Tiny Post, and CruiseWise.

The immediate impact on Orbitz’s operations is unclear. Skift reports that the Orbitz brands would continue to operate separately (and compete with Expedia’s holdings), but hotel offerings on Orbitz would expand since Expedia has a larger lodging portfolio.

Some analysts believe these mergers may draw the attention of antitrust regulators in the U.S. Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commission, Bloomberg reports.

Market shares of all three big players—Expedia, Priceline, and TripAdvisor—boomed following the news.