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Etraveli CEO: We will appeal EC block on Booking Holdings acquisition

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The European Commission on Monday officially declared that it is prohibiting the proposed acquisition of Etraveli Group, by Booking Holdings.

The European Commission’s conclusion is that the acquisition of Etraveli Group by Booking would have resulted in Booking further consolidating its position in the market for hotel online travel agencies in the European Economic Area.

Mathias Hedlund, Chief Executive Officer of Etraveli Group, told us just how disappointed he was by the outcome. The Booking.com Flight product, powered by Etraveli Group, has been rapidly gaining popularity and is already favored by European consumers for its user-friendliness.

The proposed merger was regarded a natural step forward in promoting healthy competition, so there is now wonder Hedlund was very disappointed with the European Commission’s decision to block the Etraveli Group acquisition by Booking Holdings.

“This decision means that Etraveli Group will continue to thrive as an independent and fast-growing company,” Hedlund said. “In doing so, we will further develop our existing partnership with Booking.com through our long-term agreement, which was recently extended until the end of 2028.”

Booking Holdings entered into an agreement with funds managed by CVC Capital Partners to acquire Etraveli Group, for approximately €1.63 billion in November 2021. Completion of the acquisition was subject to certain closing conditions, including regulatory approval.

Unconditional merger clearance was granted in all other geographies including the UK Competition & Markets Authority and U.S. FTC in 2022. Booking has communicated that they intend to appeal the decision from the European Commission to the European General Court. Etraveli Group said it will support such an appeal.

“It is only natural that we will support an appeal of what we believe is a wrongful decision from the EC based on a novel interpretation of the European legal framework,” Hedland said. “However such an appeal process will take years and during this time we will continue to bring our experience and flight-focused technology to bear in enhancing the flight-booking experience for customers all over the world in our very successful partnership with Booking.com.”

For Etraveli Group to come together with Booking.com beyond the existing commercial partnership would have further benefited European consumers by reducing prices and enhancing competition in the flight sector while undoubtedly having negligible effects in the hotel online travel agency sector.


Who is Etraveli Group?

Etraveli Group, headquartered in Sweden, is a global technology provider for flights focused on offering the best possible flight content delivered through flexible tech solutions to the consumer and any company facing the consumer.

The company caters to more than 30 million flight passengers annually in 75 markets worldwide. During the first half of 2023 Etraveli Group has grown almost 60% on orders to over 10 mln orders in H1 2023, with a 90% growth in TTV (Total Transaction Value) to over 6 Billion Euro during H1 2023.

Through consumer brands like Gotogate, Mytrip, Flight Network and global partnerships with the likes of Google Flights, Skyscanner, Kayak, Booking.com and others Etraveli Group provides search, book and fulfillment services of flights and related products. The group also operates the airline integration company TripStack and metasearch engine Flightmate (Flygresor.se). Etraveli Group has 2300 employees with offices in Sweden, Greece, Canada, India and Uruguay.

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Do your own research or consult a professional advisor.

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