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Expedia unveils US$3.9b deal for HomeAway

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US online travel booking giant said Wednesday it agreed to acquire the vacation marketplace HomeAway for US$3.9 billion.

[SAN FRANCISCO] US online travel booking giant said Wednesday it agreed to acquire the vacation marketplace HomeAway for US$3.9 billion.

The deal comes weeks after Expedia concluded a takeover of online rival Orbitz, which won approval by antitrust regulators despite objections from some consumer groups and hotel operators.

The new acquisition would boost Expedia's efforts to compete with online travel aggregators like Kayak and the fast-growing Airbnb, which allows property dwellers to rent a room or an entire residence for short-term stays.

HomeAway, founded in 2005, has more than one million vacation listings including many from property owners under its own brand and VRBO, which stands for vacation rental by owner.

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"We have long had our eyes on the fast growing US$100 billion alternative accommodations space and have been building on our partnership with HomeAway, a global leader in vacation rentals, for two years," said Expedia chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi.

"Bringing HomeAway into the Expedia, Inc family and adding its leading brands to our portfolio of the most trusted brands in travel is a logical next step." The companies said they hope to close the deal in early 2016.

The Expedia-Orbitz tie-up faced criticism because it gave the group up to 75 per cent of the market for traditional hotel bookings.

But defenders of the deal said competition is coming from sites which scan online travel deals like Hipmunk and review websites like TripAdvisor.

AFP

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