Acquisition of the Etraveli platform, Booking signs and persists

2 min reading time

Published on 11 September 2023

Rachat Etraveli par Booking

It's a deal that has been causing a stir in the distribution world since 2021, when the OTA announced its ambition to buy Swedish competitor Etraveli, which brings together a number of brands including Gotogate, Mytrip and TripStack, for €1.6 billion.

Although the buyout was announced for the end of 2021, it was finally halted the following year by the European Commission. The Commission explained that this could fall within the scope of its merger regulation and opened an in-depth investigation.

The Commission is strongly opposed to this acquisition, which would only strengthen Booking's quasi-monopoly and increase commissions for hoteliers, and potentially consumers. According to numerous sources in the Financial Times, the Commission is even considering blocking the deal.

While the company would not take the decision lightly, according to David Goulden, CFO of Booking Holdings, it would not hesitate to oppose it. In particular, he said the company would "profoundly disagree" with a veto by the Commission, adding that it would be "fundamentally factually and legally wrong". Booking will therefore "appeal this decision before the European courts" if necessary.

Flights are an essential part of the company's strategy to create a "connected journey" that "can solve what is still a complicated, fragmented and frustrating way to travel". Booking intends to continue its development in vertical markets such as air travel and car rental.

The company has the potential to become much larger and much bigger than it is today, just by harnessing the potential of the existing customer base, and we will be able to grow even further.

David Goulden, Chief Financial Officer, Booking Holdings

The European Commission's final decision will be announced on 27 September. The Commission is also expected to rule shortly on Booking's status, i.e. whether or not the OTA is considered to be a "gatekeeper". While Booking claims that it is not, the balance does seem to tip in the other direction, given its considerable weight in the structuring of hotel distribution. If the verdict designates Booking as a "gatekeeper", the platform will be obliged to be more transparent about its practices towards both customers and hotels.

OTA & Pure Players

  • Netherlands
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