Expedia may be poised to take the next step with Travelocity — an outright acquisition instead of the mere operational outsourcing agreement that currently exists.

As Bezinga first reported, an Oppenheimer analyst noticed that the Federal Trade Commission posted on January 14 an early termination notice of a Hart Scott Rodino request involving Expedia Inc. acquiring Travelocity.com LP from Sabre Corp.

“We can confirm that we have received early termination from the FTC on our HSR filing but have no additional information to share at this time,” said Expedia Inc. spokesperson Sarah Waffle Gavin.

Hart Scott Rodino is a pre-merger notifcation program involving large mergers and acquisitions and it involves a review by both the FTC and the Department of Justice.

The parties can’t close on a acquisition during the waiting period but the FTC, which administers the program, can grant an early termination of the process, which they did January 14.

This could clear the way for Expedia Inc. to acquire Travelocity and move beyond their current agreement in which Expedia powers virtually all the operations — except marketing — of Travelocity North America.

Under the 2013 agreement between Expedia and Sabre, Expedia has certain options to acquire Sabre’s Travelocity for a fair market price.

Sabre entered into the agreement to cut its losses and expenses related to Travelocity.

If the two parties close on an acquisition, Expedia Inc. stands to gain additional marketshare, particularly in North America.

Photo Credit: Travelocity's Roaming Gnome may soon be getting an Expedia paycheck. Travelocity