Travel agency Booking to defend ETraveli deal at July 7 EU hearing
By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Online travel agency Booking Holdings will on Friday try to convince European Union antitrust regulators to allow its 1.63 billion euro ($1.8 billion) acquisition of Sweden’s Etraveli Group, despite concerns it could hurt competition.
Booking announced its bid for peer Etraveli, owner of the brands Gotogate and Mytrip and operator of airline content distribution services provider TripStack, in November 2021. Etraveli is owned by private equity firm CVC Capital.
The European Commission said last month the deal will make it harder for rivals to compete with market leader Booking, by reinforcing its position in hotels and further expanding its reach into travel services like flights and car rentals.
Booking will attempt to address regulators’ concerns at a closed hearing in Brussels on Friday, Booking told Reuters via email.
Senior officials from the EU competition watchdog and national antitrust agencies, as well commission lawyers, will participate in the hearing.
Booking may have to offer remedies following the hearing to prevent a veto on the deal. The Commission is scheduled to decide on the matter by Aug. 30.
Booking’s brands include Booking.com, Priceline, Agoda, KAYAK, Rentalcars.com and OpenTable.
($1 = 0.9189 euros)
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Emma Rumney)