Feds Give Google Permission to Take Off With ITA, But With Concessions
The U.S. Department of Justice has given Google permission to take off the runway with its proposed $700 million acquisition of the flight data concern ITA Software. But the search giant has clearance to close the deal only after agreeing to set of concessions meant to allay concerns that the deal might hurt competition.
Among the terms of the settlement, Google will be required to license ITA’s software to other airline booking sites and has to fund research and developing into the software at levels consistent with what ITA has spent in recent years. Google will also be required to continue work on ITA’s next generation of software.
EMoney’s Tricia Duryee reported last month that Google and the government were close to reaching a settlement.
Joseph Wayland, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division said in a statement that the proposed settlement “assures that airfare comparison and booking websites will be able to compete effectively, providing benefits to consumers.”
ITA’s software is the backbone of several of the Web’s airline ticket search services including sites like Kayak and Hotwire. When Google first move to acquire ITA for $700 million last July it said would make it easier for consumers to find flight information online. However several online travel companies opposed it, among them Sabre Holdings, the owns the largest database of airline fares, and the online travel booking site Expedia.
Google shares rose $1.82 on the news to $581.82 a share. Expedia shares rose $2.53 or 11 percent on unrelated news that the company plans to spin off its TripAdvisor unit into a separate, publicly traded company.
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