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With Priceline buying Kayak, Expedia investing in Trivago, and TripAdvisor launching hotel metasearch, all the big players have a piece of the pie, and this will have many delightful twists and turns.

Priceline completed its $1.8 billion acquisition of Kayak today, meaning Kayak ceases trading as a public company, and becomes a Priceline subsidiary.

Game on.

Priceline says it paid $522.4 million in cash and issued more than 1.5 million shares of common stock to pay for the right to meld the travel metasearch company into the Priceline fold.

Kayak will operate as an independent company, as do, Agoda, and, within the Priceline Group.

The CEOs of Priceline and Kayak co-founders had something to say today about the whole thing.

“We are delighted to welcome Kayak as the newest member of The Priceline Group,” said Jeffery H. Boyd, CEO of The Priceline Group.  “We look forward to working with the Kayak  team as they build their business and expand the international footprint of their great products.”

“We are excited to join the world’s premier online travel company,” said Steve Hafner, Kayak CEO and co-founder.  “We believe that The Priceline Group’s expertise and worldwide reach will help us expand our business globally.”

Paul English, Kayak CTO and co-founder added, “Our focus will remain creating the best place for travelers to plan and book their travel and providing an effective marketing channel for travel suppliers and online travel agencies.”

Priceline’s acquisition of Kayak kicks off the next stage in competition among global travel companies. It has mostly focused to date on the standalone hotel business, as Expedia and duke it out in Europe, Asia and Latin America, but now travel metasearch has been added to the mix.

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Tags: kayak, metasearch, priceline

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