Booking first announced its acquisition of Swedish company ETraveli for $1.6 billion in late 2021, but the deal fell through last year when the The European Commission (EC) has said this could fall within the scope of its merger rules. and opened a thorough investigation.
In June, the Commission stated its preliminary view was that the proposed acquisition could allow Booking to “strengthen its position” in the online hotel travel agency (“OTA”) market in the European Economic Area (“EEA”).
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Among the Commission’s concerns are increased barriers to entry for competing OTAs and increased costs for hoteliers and potentially end consumers.
Regulators have set September 27 as the tentative deadline to make a decision, but a recent report in the Financial Times said regulators would likely veto the deal, citing four sources familiar with the deal.
An interesting element that will probably not work in favor of Booking is that by December, the The OTA will likely reach the threshold to qualify as a gatekeeper under the European Digital Markets Act.
The OTA said in early July that it did not meet the criteria for the July submission deadline, but expected the thresholds to be met by the end of the year.
In September 2022, the UK Competition and Markets Authority cleared the deal.
PhocusWire has contacted Etraveli, but a spokesperson said they could not comment at this time.