Booking Holdings' acquisition of ETraveli Group might have to jump regulatory hurdles, with the European Commission set to make a decision next week.
A year ago, Booking Holdings announced its €1.6 billion takeover of ETraveli, whose brands include Gotogate, Flygresor, Seat24, Mytrip, virtual interlining technology provider TripStack and Flight Network.
CVC Capital Partners has owned the Sweden-based business since 2017 when it bought it from German television and entertainment business ProSiebenSat1 for €508 million.
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European regulators said last month that, after a preliminary examination, the acquisition of Etraveli by Booking Holdings could fall within the scope of its merger regulations and reserved its decision until November.
Flights is an important component for Booking Holdings as it seeks to build out a connected trip experience for users. And last year, Booking positioned the acquisition of ETraveli as part of its “ongoing work to build a frictionless global flights offering.”
In the company’s third quarter earnings call, CEO Glenn Fogel said that awareness of its flights business is still not there.
He added that “over 20% of all of our flight bookings globally are new to Booking.com. There is much more work to do as we strive to give our customers the best possible travel experience. But we are pleased with the early results we have seen so far.”
Later, responding to an analyst’s question, he said: “Our flight product is not yet as good as it should be. We’ll continue to improve upon in it,” but concluded that there is a lot of “upside left” with flights.
In late September, UK regulator the Competition and Market's Authority cleared the acquisition of potential competition hurdles.