In contrast to its recent penchant for big acquisitions, the Priceline Group now seems to be content to take minority stakes, such as this one with Hotel Urbano, while Priceline focuses on integrating past acquisitions and its new B2B businesses.
Four months after Expedia Inc. took a minority stake in Argentina-based Decolar.com, the Priceline Group did likewise as it invested $60 million in Decolar rival Hotel Urbano.
Under the terms of the deal, which gives the Priceline Group a minority stake in the Brazil-based online travel agency, Hotel Urbano will exclusively use the Priceline Group’s Booking.com source hotels outside Latin America.
The Priceline Group, as does Expedia Inc., has had a base in the region for years but the new strategic partnership should enhance Priceline’s position in Latin America.
“Brazil is a dynamic, fast-growing market and both of us are growing very rapidly within tis region,” said Darren Huston, President and CEO of The Priceline Group. “We are excited to partner with Hotel Urbano to help globalize their offering and let their customers experience the best of what both of us have to offer.”
The companies stated that the strategic partnership, which also includes the Priceline Group being the preferred provider of Hotel Urbano’s global vacation packages as part of their commercial agreement, begins immediately although it will take several quarters to fully implement.
The Priceline Group’s $60 million investment in Hotel Urbano is small compared with the $270 million that Expedia put into Decolar.
Hotel Urbano commanded at $365 million valuation in March 2014 and is growing 65 percent year over year, TechCrunch reported.
Rather than the blockbuster acquisitions of recent years (including Kayak and OpenTable), the Priceline Group seems to be taking a somewhat more measured approach in 2015 as it increased its minority stake in Ctrip, investing an additional $250 million, and now has put in $60 million to get a piece of Hotel Urbano.
For further information about Hotel Urbano and Decolar, read the following interviews with their CEOs:
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