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Airbnb is said among possible suitors for Wyndham Europe rentals

[SAN FRANCISCO] Airbnb Inc is among potential suitors for Wyndham Worldwide Corp's European vacation-rental business, people familiar with the matter said.

First-round bids are due this month for the travel company's European home unit, which could fetch more than US$1 billion, said the people, asking not to be identified as the details aren't public. Airbnb is in the early stages of considering acquiring the business, which may also attract interest from private equity firms, the people said.

The home-rental upstart could also team up with a buyout firm to make a bid, one of the people said.

Representatives for Airbnb and Wyndham declined to comment. Wyndham shares jumped 1.5 per cent to US$109 at 3:50pm in New York.

sentifi.com

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Acquiring Wyndham's European inventory, which boasts tens of thousands of properties in ritzy vacation towns like Dalmatia, Croatia, and Santorini, Greece, would help Airbnb expand its luxury supply and attract higher paying travelers as it battles Expedia Inc and Priceline Group Inc.

In recent years, the three travel companies have increased their focus on vacation-home rentals, which are more lucrative than collecting a fee on transactions for small apartments and hotel rooms. In February, Airbnb acquired Montreal-based Luxury Retreats, which specialises in high-end villa rentals and concierge services in the Caribbean.

Wyndham, which owns the Ramada and Days Inn brands, said in August it plans to spin off its hotel unit, consolidate its timeshare business and explore alternatives for the European rental brands.

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