Antitrust Division of Justice Department Give Green Signal to Expedia and Orbitz Merger

Antitrust Division of Justice Department Give Green Signal to Expedia and Orbitz MergerEarlier in the year, Expedia announced that it was initiating talks to buy its smaller rival travel booking site Orbitz. Now, with a green signal from the Justice Department on Wednesday for the $1.3 billion merger, the deal could move ahead.

Some of the consumer advocates, lawmakers and hotel companies had raised concerns over the possible market power which the merged company would gain curbing competition. Phocuswright, the research firm says that approximately seventy five percent of the domestic for market online booking by third-party will be controlled by the combined company. In a statement, Expedia said it was satisfied with the decision: "We look forward to officially welcoming Orbitz Worldwide."

Shares of Orbitz climbed 6.4 percent, to $11.92 as the approval came in for the controversial merger.

Bill Baer, an assistant attorney general in the antitrust division of the Justice Department said that they looked at the concerns critically and factored in all the information while running the analysis. He added, "At the end of this process, however, we concluded that the acquisition is unlikely to harm competition and consumers."

According to Mr. Baer, the Justice Department decided that Orbitz was comparatively a smaller source of booking for several hotel companies when the online travel business is "evolving rapidly." He also cited offerings by bigger players like TripAdvisor and Google who aim to take their business ahead of just searching for rooms making booking potions available too.