RealTime IT News

Expedia Snags Travelscape.com, VacationSpot.com

The online travel space became a little smaller as Expedia Inc. purchased competitors Travelscape.com Inc. and VacationSpot.com Inc. for approximately $177 million in stock.

The deal was announced late Monday after U.S. markets had closed.

Expedia (EXPE), a division of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), will issue approximately 2.6 million shares and options, valued at approximately $82 million, in exchange for all of the outstanding shares, options and warrants of VacationSpot.com. The company will issue approximately 3 million shares, options and warrants, valued at approximately $95 million, in exchange for all outstanding shares, options and warrants of Travelscape.com.

Both Travelscape.com and VacationSpot.com focus on providing lodging information and reservations. Travelscape.com operates both Travelscape.com and LVRS.com (Las Vegas Reservations Systems), contracting with hotel properties for inventory at wholesale prices at more than 1,200 hotels in 240 cities. VacationSpot.com is a reservation network for vacation homes, rental condos, inns and bed & breakfasts, operating the VacationSpot.com and Rent-a-Holiday.comWeb sites.

With the acquisitions, Expedia has access to 65,000 lodging properties worldwide, said Richard Barton, president and chief executive officer of Expedia Inc.

"The combination of the broad and unique selection of getaways from VacationSpot.com, discounted hotel rates from Travelscape.com, and the Expedia hotel directory creates the largest and most compelling lodging offering on the Internet," he said. ". . .We're really excited by the progress these acquisitions make towards achieving our goal of providing the widest possible selection of worldwide lodging options to our customers."

In addition to hotel pricing, Expedia offers flight and car booking, vacation package and cruise offers, destination information, and point-to-point mapping. The company ran into some legal trouble in October when name-your-price hotel service priceline.com Inc. (PCLN) filed suit, alleging Expedia's hotel pricing system too closely resembles its system and accused Microsoft of stealing priceline's commerce system technology and related elements.