Expedia Inc.’s purchase of Orbitz Worldwide Inc. won clearance from U.S. antitrust officials reviewing the $1.3 billion deal, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The Justice Department’s antitrust division is set to announce that it is closing the investigation after finding no harm to competition from the combination, said the person, who declined to be identified because the matter isn’t public.
Spokesmen for Expedia and Orbitz didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Peter Carr, a Justice Department spokesman, declined to comment.
Expedia, based in Bellevue, Washington, said in February it agreed to acquire rival Orbitz, seeking to reclaim the lead in global online travel bookings from Priceline Group Inc. As growth flattens for smaller websites, larger players are snapping them up to bolster their businesses against competition from deep-pocketed Google.
Expedia will acquire consumer-travel brands such as CheapTickets and HotelClub, as well as business-to-business websites such as Orbitz Partner Network.
Although the deal leaves just two major U.S. online travel agencies, Expedia’s share of U.S. air and hotel bookings will still be only 12 percent, according to an estimate by Piper Jaffray Cos.
This article was written by David McLaughlin from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.