First Travelocity for $280 million and now Orbitz for $1.3 billion. Expedia is on a buying spree right now and is scooping up all of its biggest competitors, but why? Many expect that this is due to the rise of home-sharing sites like Airbnb and that Expedia is rushing to increase its power to better combat these rapidly growing alternative services.
Expedia has agreed to buy Orbitz for $1.3 billion, bringing together two pioneers of online travel. The deal, announced Thursday, adds to Expedia’s long list of travel sites, including Hotels.com, Hotwire and Trivago. The company also last month just finished its acquisition of Sabre’s Travelocity for $280 million and in November bought Australia’s Wotif Holdings for about $612 million. A proliferation of travel and home-sharing sites — including Hipmunk, Kayak and Airbnb — has motivated the leaders of online travel to keep gobbling up other players in hopes of maintaining and growing their customer bases. For example, Priceline — Expedia’s much larger rival — in 2013 bought Kayak, which aggregates ticket information from other websites, for $1.8 billion.