Expedia to buy rival Orbitz - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Expedia to buy rival Orbitz

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(AP) — Expedia will buy Chicago-based Orbitz Worldwide for $12 a share in cash in a deal with an enterprise value of about $1.6 billion.

Orbitz owns CheapTickets and HotelClub. Its shares are up about 21 percent in early trading this morning.

Expedia owns Hotels.com and Hotwire.

"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," Expedia President and CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement.

"Our mission at Orbitz Worldwide has been to build our brands to be the world's most rewarding places to plan and purchase travel," Orbitz Worldwide CEO Barney Harford in the statement. "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."

The online-travel industry has seen a boom in mergers and acquisitions recently. Last month, Expedia agreed to acquire Sabre's Travelocity for $280 million in cash, as it tries to bulk up against competitors like Priceline. Last year, Priceline, the largest online-travel company, bought a minority stake in Ctrip.com International and paid about $2.5 billion to purchase restaurant-reservations website company OpenTable.

Orbitz had been exploring a sale and reaching out to potential buyers, Bloomberg News reported last month, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The company has long been the smallest player in online travel without the benefit of economies of scale, Daniel Kurnos, an analyst at Benchmark Co., said at the time.

The boards of Expedia and Orbitz have approved the deal, but it still requires a nod from Orbitz shareholders.

Bloomberg News contributed to this report.

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