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Expedia Acquires European Car-Rental Site Auto Escape Group

@denschaal

Skift Take

The merger and acquisition frenzy in the travel industry continues apace, and Expedia’s acquisition of the Auto Escape Group will enhance Expedia’s global competition with the Priceline Group.

— Dennis Schaal

The travel industry’s merger and acquisition spree revved up a bit as Expedia Inc. agreed to acquire European car-rental reservation company Auto Escape Group from Montefiore Investment and Auto Escape Group’s management.

Auto Escape Group, which fields the Auto Escape and Car del Mar brands, and also provides negotiated rates and packages, will become part of the Hotwire Group’s CarRentals.com brand.

“We are excited to expand our CarRentals.com brand internationally so that we can provide our customers more choices across the globe and help our supply partners expand their marketing reach,” said Henrik Kjellberg, president of the Hotwire Group.

Terms of the acquisition, which is expected to close in the third quarter, were not disclosed.

With Europe as a prime battlefield, the acquisition will help Expedia’s CarRentals.com compete with the Priceline Group’s Rentalcars.com and others.

Auto Escape Group’s two brands offer 300 car rental suppliers in 125 countries, and will help expand the Hotwire Group’s car rental business, as well as vacation packages for Expedia Inc. brands.

Auto Escape Group employs 115 people out of its office in Hamburg, Germany, and Pertuis, France.

The acquisition follows major acquisitions, including OpenTable (Priceline Group), Trivago (Expedia Inc.), Kayak (Priceline Group), LaFourchette (TripAdvisor), and others since 2013.

Like TripAdvisor’s acquisition of French online dining reservations service LeFourchette, the fact that Expedia didn’t have to disclose the terms of the Auto Escape Group acquisition means it wasn’t on the scale of some of the larger acquisitions like Trivago, Kayak and OpenTable.

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