If the rumors floating about Google are true, the online travel game will heat up quickly, just as our own Mihaela Lica predicted, among many others. According to the buzz, Google has expressed an interest in buying online travel agency Opodo from travel transaction player Amadeus. Of course there will be pretty fierce competition bidding, the likely players to include; private-equity firms Axa Private Equity and Permira, and probably online travel leader Expedia.
Late breaking: Amadeus tells Wall Street they are examining strategic options. Market hype or the real deal, the online travel game is heating up.
Google’s upcoming purchase of ITA Software Inc. signaled for many experts the coming of an online travel industry war between the world’s most successful digital company, and the world’s top online travel companies. Herein resides at least one stumbling bloc for Google at least.Regulatory talks over Google’s ITA deal could be hampered by the insinuation the Internet Leviathan is aiming at cornering the market, so to speak. Purchasing key online travel portals too – especially now – would not exactly be sending the best message.
Back in April, I touched on the potentialities of a “Google Travel” interjection. For Expedia and many others, such a possibility might spell curtains. Where Europe travel is concerned, the European Commission will also be reviewing the ITA deal. Google has continuously said they are not interested in the transactional part of the travel sector. According to their dogma on the subject, the search giant only wants to refine its engine to suit travel better.
Opodo is the smallest of the units owned by Amadeus actually. Though Amadeus and Google have yet to come and in public about the prospective deal, JP Morgan is already on record as managing the sales process. Estimates have it that whoever buys Opodo will pay between €400 and €500 million. From our perspective here at Argophilia, obviously if anyone has that kind of money for a mediocre travel portal, contact our business development team or partners.