Merchant Innovation

Priceline Buys OpenTable

Priceline has moved to purchase OpenTableInc. for about $2.6 billion in cash.   OpenTable allows diners to book meals by smartphone and charges restaurants fees for the patrons it books as well for monthly access fees to use its software. Priceline will pay $103 a share in  a 46 percent premium over OpenTable’s closing price Thursday.

“The kind of work that we do day-to-day is very similar,” said Priceline Chief Executive Darren Huston according to The Wall Street Journal. “It’s just a different marketplace.”

Priceline has expanded dramatically over the last 10 years  through consolidating the travel website marketplace by buying out competitor aggregator sites like Kayak. This move does something different as Priceline attempts to expand their customer base to include the 15 million people who book restaurants through OpenTable.

The deal comes about a month after travel review service TripAdvisor Inc. bought Lafourchette, a Paris-based reservation service with more than 12,000 restaurants.

The Priceline-OpenTable deal is set to close in the third quarter of 2014. Priceline plans to let OpenTable run nearly autonomously under CEO Matthew Roberts, a arrangement to what it has worked out with previously acquired companies Kayak and Booking.com

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