Booking Holdings Inc., one of the world’s leading online travel companies, has offered concessions to the European Union (EU) in order to convince the antitrust regulators to approve its €1.6bn purchase of Sweden’s Etraveli Group and ease concerns over the negative impact it would have on competitors.
The EU’s competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, has been focusing on deals that could further entrench the market power of big tech firms. In this case, regulators worry that Booking’s acquisition of the flight-only company would give the travel group an added boost in the hotels sector.
In an effort to alleviate those fears, Booking Holdings has proposed certain concessions in the form of a commercial agreement that will allow Booking users to book flights offered by Etraveli. This move has been seen by some analysts as a way to curb its dominance and create more competition in the industry.
A Booking Holdings spokesperson has commented about the issue, saying that ” the company remained in ‘continued discussions’ with the commission” regarding the Etraveli acquisition.
This proposed move has been met with a positive reaction from investors, as several big banks such as Jefferies, UBS, Morgan Stanley and Barclays have raised their price targets on Booking. For instance, Jefferies Adjusts Booking Holdings’ Price Target to $3,400 From $3,350, Keeps Buy Rating, UBS Raises Booking’s Price Target to $3,500 From $2,925, Maintains Buy Rating, Morgan Stanley Raises Booking Holdings’ Price Target to $2,800 From $2,600, Keeps Equalweight Rating and Barclays Adjusts Price Target on Booking Holdings to $3,130 From $2,960, Maintains Overweight Rating.
Booking Holdings Inc. is one of the world’s top online travel companies. It provides customers with a broad range of services, including hotel booking, car rentals, ticketing, combined trips, customised trips, and cruises. Booking’s net sales are distribute geographically as follows: The US (13.1%), The Netherlands (79.2%) and other (7.7%).
The travel group’s offer of concessions is in line with their vision of creating more competition and giving customers the best travel experience possible. The outcome of the talks between Booking Holdings and the EU will be seen in the near future, and it remains to be seen if Booking will be able to fulfill its mission.