Expedia to acquire Orbitz for $1.3 billion

BELLEVUE: Expedia is buying rival online travel site Orbitz for approximately $1.33 billion to extend its reach in the travel-booking industry.

It's Expedia's second major deal in the past month as the industry consolidates. Expedia announced the $280 million acquisition of another rival, Travelocity, in late January.

Orbitz owns CheapTickets, HotelClub. Expedia owns Hotels.com and Hotwire.

Expedia, based in Bellevue, Washington, will pay $12 per share, a 25% premium to the Orbitz' closing price of $9.62 Wednesday.

The boards of both companies have approved the deal, but it still requires a nod from Orbitz shareholders.

Orbitz had said in January that it was considering selling itself.

Shares of Orbitz Worldwide Inc., based in Chicago, are up more than 23% in premarket trading and Expedia is up 5%.

The other big travel booking company is the Priceline Group, which owns sites like Priceline, Booking.com, Kayak and OpenTable. Priceline's stock rose 1.8% to $1,078.89 in premarket trading.

While those companies dominate the travel market _ and are taking advantage of quickly-growing markets in developing countries _ they are facing new pressures at home from more-innovative sites like airfare search Hipmunk and last-minute deal site HotelTonight.

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