The European Commission (EC) has today officially declared that it is prohibiting the proposed acquisition of Etraveli Group, by Booking Holdings (Booking). 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 (OTAs) in the European Economic Area (EEA).
Mathias Hedlund, Chief Executive Officer of Etraveli Group, expressed his disappointment:
"This decision means that Etraveli Group will continue to thrive as an independent and fast-growing company. 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.
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. This proposed merger was a natural step forward in promoting healthy competition, hence we're very disappointed with the European Commission's decision to block the Etraveli Group acquisition by Booking Holdings. 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 OTA sector.”
Etraveli Group (ETG), 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.
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 will support such an appeal.
Mathias Hedlund comments: “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. 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”
About Booking Holdings
Booking Holdings (NASDAQ: BKNG) is the world's leading provider of online travel and related services, provided to consumers and local partners in more than 220 countries and territories through six primary consumer-facing brands: Booking.com, Priceline, Agoda, Rentalcars.com, KAYAK and OpenTable. The mission of Booking Holdings is to make it easier for everyone to experience the world.
About CVC Capital Partners
CVC is a leading global private markets manager focused on private equity, secondaries and credit with a network of 25 offices throughout EMEA, the Americas and Asia, with approximately €161 billion of assets under management. Since its founding in 1981, CVC has secured commitments in excess of US$165 billion from some of the world's leading institutional investors across its private equity and credit strategies. Funds managed or advised by CVC are invested in more than 100 companies worldwide, which have combined annual sales of over US$100 billion and employ more than 450,000 people. For further information about CVC please visit: www.cvc.com.
For more information on this case, please visit the European Commission's competition website under case number M.10615.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Etraveli Group Communications Department
+46 70 344 81 58
About Etraveli Group
Etraveli Group is a leading 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. Through our own consumer brands like Gotogate, Mytrip, Flightnetwork and through our global partnerships with the likes of Google Flights, Skyscanner, Kayak, Booking.com and others we provide search, book and fulfilment services of Flights and related products. The Group also operates the airline integration company TripStack and the leading price comparison site in Sweden; Flygresor.se. The headquarters are located in Uppsala, and the group also has offices in Athens, Toronto, Stockholm, Gothenburg, two cities in India, Krakow and Montevideo, as well as outsourced operations in India and China. Since 2017, private-equity firm CVC Capital Partners owns Etraveli Group.