Rubber-stamping from the European Commission today with approval given to the formation of the Opodo-Go Voyages-eDreams joint venture.
Regulators stepped when Amadeusoffloaded the Opodo online travel agency to AXA Private Equity and Permira Funds in February 2011 in a Euro 450 million deal.
The two finance houses already owned the French and Spanish giants Go Voyages (AXA) and eDreams (Permira) and stated a desire to create a single business combining the three brands, effectively forming one of the largest OTAs in Europe.
The commission was concerned that the joint venture would command a large share of the leisure flights business, especially in France and Italy.
But in a ruling today, officials cleared the deal, concluding there would be sufficient competition from existing OTAs and from airlines selling their own products:
"The commission's investigation showed that online travel agencies and airline websites compete with each other for the sale of leisure flights on the Internet.
"The joint venture will face competition from airlines such as Air France, Alitalia, Windjet, easyJet and Ryanair and from other OTAs like Expedia and Bravofly/Volagratis."