| March 13
March 13 Online travel agency Priceline.com's
$1.8 billion deal to acquire smaller rival Kayak
Software Corp, which was expected to close this month,
will be delayed due to a prolonged review by UK antitrust
The UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has told the companies
that the administrative deadline for its review is expected to
be in May, Priceline said on Wednesday.
Priceline, which expected the deal to close in the first
quarter of 2013, did not say why the review was delayed. Company
spokesman Brian Ek declined to comment.
Ascendiant Capital Markets analyst Edward Woo said the delay
could be because of the OFT's 2012 investigation of online
Britain's consumer watchdog alleged in July that Priceline's
hotel reservation site, Booking.com, and Expedia broke
European and UK competition laws by signing deals with
InterContinental Hotels Group that limited the discounts
offered on hotel rooms.
Priceline has denied the allegations. It expects the
decision on whether the OFT will file charges in the second half
of 2013 at the earliest, according to its annual report dated
"This may be part of why the review is taking a couple of
months longer than expected," Woo said. "I think the merger will
Expedia recently completed a deal to buy majority interest
in German hotel site trivago GmbH for about $632 million without
any antitrust issues.
The Priceline-Kayak deal, announced in November, received
U.S. antitrust approval in early January.
Kayak shareholders approved the deal earlier this month.
Priceline, known for its name-your-own-price auction, is
buying Kayak to boost its travel research and advertising
Priceline's shares, which have gained about 15 percent since
announcing the Kayak deal, fell 0.5 percent to $719.97 on
Wednesday on the Nasdaq. Kayak's shares were trading down
slightly at $40.65.