Wyndham's European vacation rental sale piques Airbnb interest

Dansommer by Wyndham Vacation Rentals vacation home, Sibenik-Dubrava, Dalmatia, Croatia

As Wyndham Worldwide seeks its first round of bids for its European vacation rental business, Airbnb has reportedly shown interest in acquiring the subsidiary. The first round kick-started this month, and could see over $1 billion in bids coming in.
 
According to people familiar with the matter, Airbnb is currently in the early stages of considering the acquisition of the home-rental company. The web-based home rental company's growing interest could attract interest from private equity firms. Airbnb is also considering partnering with a buyout firm to send its bid. 

Since the announcement to sell its vacation rental business, Wyndham's shares grew by 1.5 percent to $109 in New York. The purchase of the hotel group's European portfolio of properties across various vacation towns, including Dalmatia, Croatia and Santorini, Greece, would not only increase Airbnb's luxury stock, but also attract higher paying travelers, strengthening its competitive edge against Expedia and Priceline Group

The three travel companies have boosted their focus on vacation-home rentals in the last few years. These rentals have proven to be more lucrative than collecting a transaction fee for small apartments and hotel guestrooms. 

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To strengthen its presence in the luxury sector, Airbnb acquired Montreal's Luxury Retreats, which specializes in high-end villas and concierge services in the Caribbean, for approximately $30 million in February 2017. While both AccorHotels and Expedia offered higher bids on the company, Luxury Retreats chose Airbnb because founder Joe Poulin foresaw retaining more control than he would with the other two travel groups in charge. In August, Wyndham announced plans to spin off its hotel unit and consolidate its timeshare business while searching for alternatives for its European rental brands.