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EU Extends Deadline For Booking Holdings’ Acquisition Decision

 |  July 10, 2023

The European Union has extended its deadline for a decision on online travel agency Booking Holdings’ 1.63-billion-euro ($1.8 billion) acquisition, giving the company until September 6th for a final decision.

The extension was given by the EU antitrust regulators, who have expressed concerns that the deal could reduce competition. Because of this, Booking, who owns popular travel brands such as Booking.com, Priceline, Agoda, KAYAK, Rentalcars, and OpenTable, may be forced to offer remedies within the coming days.

The Commission went on to warn that the deal would reinforce Booking’s market power and push up costs for hotels. “This proposed merger provides Booking Holdings with a much larger market presence and could therefore have a significant impact on the European market for hotel bookings,” a Commission spokesman said last month.

Related: EU Deepens Probe Into Booking.com’s €1.6B ETraveli Deal

Booking CEO Glenn Fogel, Booking Holdings, sees the conclusion of the transaction as a great benefit for both companies. “The combination of Etraveli and Booking Holdings would create an even stronger platform for growth — offering enhanced capabilities to hotels and agencies across the globe and delivering a more competitive offering to our customers worldwide,” Fogel states.

However, Etraveli CEO Mathias Hedlund, Etraveli, has his doubts about potential competition blocking concerns. “We are confident that any competitive issues that have been identified will be satisfactorily addressed in the coming days,” Hedlund said.

Booking Holdings is counting on the transaction to go through and add new talent and capabilities to its portfolio. The final decision from the Commission is expected by September 6 of this year.