The U.S. airlines and hotel industries are opposing the proposed merger of online travel booking sites Expedia Inc (NASDAQ: EXPE) and Orbitz Worldwide Inc (NYSE: OWW), saying that it would lower competition and control the online booking market. The $1.3 billion deal was announced in February after Expedia’s acquisition of Travelocity. The U.S. Department of Justice is still reviewing the deal.
“We believe this transaction and the resulting consolidation of the online travel marketplace will result in significant negative consequences, particularly for consumers, but also for the large number of our members who are small business owners and franchised properties,” said Katherine Lugar, chief executive of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Expedia already owns other booking sites Hotels.com, CheapTickets.com and Travelocity, and the transaction would give them 75 percent share of the U.S. online travel booking market, according to a market research. Few U.S. senators and some on Capitol Hill have expressed the concern and suggested the Justice Department to review the deal thoroughly. The company commented that it has no means to raise the commissions and consumers still have various options such as individual travel companies and Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG).