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Priceline Group CEO Darren Huston broke news of the company’s agreement to acquire OpenTable to employees in a letter that coincided with the public announcement, and he argued that the two companies share a heritage — trying to improve the customer experience.
“Across the world, our businesses operate with a shared focus on delivering the best online booking experiences for our customers and building win-win relationships with our global partners,” Huston stated in the letter [embedded below].
“OpenTable’s roots are grounded in these same principles — delivering a supreme digital experience for their diners and world-class solutions for their restaurant partners.
“Through this shared foundation, we see many opportunities to leverage our collective assets and skills to enhance the online booking experience for customers and augment the caliber of solutions we deliver to our partners — now extending from hotels, rental cars, and airlines to restaurants as well.”
Huston stated that the Priceline Group aims to promote OpenTable’s international expansion, but there is also an opportunity to cross-promote the companies, and to share knowledge on mobile innovations and payments.
He also took note that the Priceline Group also acquired — for a lot less than $2.6 billion — the hotel digital marketing company Buuteeq a few days earlier.
The Priceline Group didn’t have to disclose the acquisition price for Buuteeq because it wasn’t material to Priceline’s financials.
“Both deals have been considered for some time and having them happen in the same week is an amazing coincidence,” Huston stated. “In such an exceptional week, it is worth noting what really has driven our growth over time: Not big deals or fancy strategy but rather you, and the work you do every day.
“The same will ultimately be true for buuteeq and now OpenTable. The vast majority of our value in the market comes from how we compete and constantly reinvent our businesses. In that respect, and knowing what you can achieve, I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities still standing in front of each of our businesses — from customer loyalty, to mobile growth, to new market expansion, to new product development.
“If we all come to work every day, both hungry and humble, and we collectively work hard on each part of the puzzle we own, we will achieve unimaginable things together.”
The full text of Huston’s letter to employees follows: