Panic over - an Australian regulator has decided that Expedia Inc's proposed takeover of wotif.com won't damage competition after all.
Early in September the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) threw a potential spanner in the works by announcing that it was "seeking further information to determine whether the proposed acquisition is likely to substantially lessen competition in the market for the online distribution of Australian accommodation".
But less than a month later, it has come back to the market with the following conclusion:
"The ACCC considered that the acquisition was unlikely to diminish the dynamic nature of the industry.
"Disruptive developments from smaller OTAs and from companies in related online sectors, such as the metasearch providers, can be expected to constrain Expedia in the future."
Nonetheless, there are still rumblings of discontent. The Australian Hotels Association CEO Bradley Woods tells the Sydney Morning Herald:
"The end effect of acquisitions and concentrations of market power into two or three companies will be that the consumer may end up bearing the cost of less competition."