Expedia to buy Orbitz for $1.34 billion

Expedia Inc., the online-travel booking service, agreed to acquire Orbitz Worldwide Inc. for $1.34 billion in cash, adding brands such as CheapTickets and ebookers to take on industry leader Priceline Group Inc.

Expedia said it would pay $12 a share to add consumer travel brands such as HotelClub, as well as business-to-business sites such as Orbitz Partner Network. The deal represents a premium of 25 percent to Orbitz’s closing price Wednesday. The transaction is valued at about $1.6 billion including net debt, the companies said in a statement to Bloomberg.

Over the past year, Expedia has been buying more brands to add new customers. The company in November closed a deal worth 703 million Australian dollars ($612 million) for Australia’s Wotif Holdings Ltd. In the U.S., the company recently agreed to buy Sabre Corp.’s Travelocity brand for $280 million, reports the Wall Street Journal.

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When asked last week by The Wall Street Journal about the company’s interest in adding Orbitz, Expedia Chief Financial Officer Mark Okerstrom said the company was still working on integrating the product of its latest shopping spree.

“We’ve got a track record of being an acquisitive company, but we’ve got our hands full right now,” he said.

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