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Travelocity Turns to Japan

It's no wonder Sabre Holdings wants to own all of Travelocity - the Fort Worth, Texas-based online travel operation is keeping up a relentless expansion, this time developing a site in Japan in conjunction with 17 domestic and international airlines serving that country.

Travelocity is in the midst of trying to fend off a semi-hostile takeover bid at $23 a share from its majority owner and founder, Sabre .

The problem is, the market has valued Travelocity stock significantly higher than the offer, and announcements like today's launch in Japan are likely to send the stock higher. It was at $26.48 in mid-day trading, up 18 cents in a generally down market.

In any case, Travelocity said the new Japanese site, to be called tabini.com, would bolster its global efforts in Europe and elsewhere in Asia.

Tabini, a new company, is a joint venture between Travelocity, Japan Airlin es, All Nippon Airways and Japan Air Systems, along with 14 other U.S. and Asian airlines.

The competition, of course, includes a host of smaller, Asia-focused travel operations, such as AsiaTravel.com and others like it. And the Japanese airlines have their own sites, of course.

Rival Expedia has a variety of international sites, but Japan is not among them.

Powered by Travelocity technology, tabini will offer booking on virtually all international airlines serving Japan, along with more than 55,000 hotels and more than 50 car rental companies in Japan and internationally.

"We think it is a prime opportunity to bring our experience and innovation ... to create a powerful brand in the Japanese travel industry," said Terrell B. Jones, president and CEO of Travelocity.com.

Separately, Travelocity bolstered its marketing partnership with Delta Air Lines, signing an agreement to for joint promotions, advertising and e-mail campaigns. Delta will also participate in Travelocity.com vacation package offerings. Financial arrangements were not disclosed.