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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Expedia Buys HomeAway To Battle Airbnb

Travel booking site Expedia this week said it agreed to buy HomeAway for about $3.9 billion in cash and stock, in a move that could ramp up competition with apartment-sharing firm Airbnb. 

The deal marks the biggest acquisition in Expedia’s history and the company’s latest in a buyibg spree since 2014, when it bought Orbitz Worldwide Inc. for a whopping $1.3 billion and Travelocity for $280 million. 

The deal enables Expedia to participate in the highly lucrative sharing economy, a market that Expedia values at $100 billion. HomeAway is a publicly traded vacation rental company that operates vocational rental site VRBO.com (Vacation Rentals by Owner).  

Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Austin, Texas, HomeAway offers the most comprehensive selection of rentals for families and groups to find accommodations such as cabins, villas, and many more. The company has more than 1,000,000 vacation rental listings in 190 countries, and operates 40 websites in 22 languages. HomeAway has acquired several sites and consolidated them into a single vacation marketplace. Investors include Austin Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures and Technology Crossover Ventures. In 2008, the company has completed an additional $250 million equity capital raise. In addition, the company operates vacation rental site VRBO.vom, which some people think of as a great alternative to apartment-sharing startup Airbnb. 

Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO Expedia, said in a statement: “We have long had our eyes on the fast-growing $100 billion alternative accommodations space and have been building on our partnership with HomeAway, a global leader in vacation rentals, for two years’, “Bringing HomeAway into the Expedia, Inc. family and adding its leading brands to our portfolio of the most trusted brands in travel is a logical next step.”

Founded as a division of Microsoft in 1996, Expedia is a US-based parent company to several global online travel brands, which include Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, trivago, Egencia (formerly Expedia Corporate Travel), Venere.com, Expedia Local Expert, Classic Vacations, Expedia CruiseShipCenters, Travelocity and Orbitz. The company operates more than 100 branded points of sale in more than 60 countries. In addition, the company also powers travel bookings for over 10,000 partners, which include airlines, hotels and consumer brands. 

Image credit: Forbes

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