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EU Opens In-Depth Study Of Booking Bid For Sweden's Etraveli

By Dave Simpson

EU antitrust regulators are opening an in-depth investigation into online travel agency Booking Holdings Inc's €1.63 billion bid for Sweden-based eTraveli Group.

Details

The European Commission, which oversees competition policy in the 27-member European Union, said on Wednesday that it had given itself until 31 March to take a decision on the case, which it has been assessing since 10 October.

Booking announced its proposed acquisition of eTraveli from private equity firm CVC Capital Partners in November last year.

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The Commission said its initial study indicated Booking had a dominant position in online travel agency services for accommodation and that competition might significantly reduce by combining eTraveli's activities in flights.

The EU executive said that Booking decided not to submit remedies during the initial investigation to address these concerns.

Etraveli offers search, booking and fulfilment services of flights through its consumer brands Gotogate and Mytrip and also operates airline integration company TripStack.

Britain's antitrust agency cleared the deal unconditionally in September.

Booking's Etraveli Deal Faces Full-Scale EU Antitrust Probe, Sources Say

The above news followed news that online travel agency Booking Holdings Inc's €1.63-billion-euro bid for Sweden-based Etraveli Group faces a full-scale EU antitrust investigation, people familiar with the matter said.

Booking announced the proposed acquisition of private equity firm CVC Capital Partners-owned Etraveli in November last year.

Etraveli offers search, booking and fulfilment services of flights through its consumer brands Gotogate and Mytrip and also operates airline integration company TripStack.

The European Commission, which has been assessing the deal since 10 October, will open an in-depth investigation at the end of its preliminary review on Nov. 16 because of competition concerns, the people said.

Booking had until Wednesday 9 November to offer remedies but did not do so, a filing on the Commission website showed on Thursday 1o November.

The EU competition watchdog declined to comment.

Booking said, "We have been and continue to work closely with the European Commission."

Britain's antitrust agency cleared the deal unconditionally in September.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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