Last month, Congressman Hank Johnson submitted a letter to the Department of Justice expressing concerns with the proposed Expedia/Orbitz merger.
In February, Expedia announced it would buy Orbitz for $1.3 billion. The proposed buyout is still under review by the Justice Department.
Congressman Johnson and others — including the American Hotel & Lodging Association, Sens. Mike Lee and Amy Klobuchar (chair and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights) and the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog — have submitted objections to the merger with the Justice Department.
“When this proposed acquisition was first announced, we expressed our concerns about this transaction running counter to the goal of creating more consumer choice,” Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), said in a press release. “As Congressman Johnson points out in his letter to the Justice Department, ‘further consolidation in the online travel agency market will have three primary negative impacts: restricting choice and increasing costs for consumers... confusing consumers about affiliate websites of online travel agencies... and endangering innovation and competition by new entrants.”
Expedia’s takeover of Orbitz would give the combined company control of approximately 75% of the entire domestic market for third-party booking, according to the research firm Phocuswright.
“We are encouraged by the multitude of groups and members of Congress adding their voices and sharing their serious concerns about Expedia’s proposed acquisition of Orbitz,” added Lugar. “We continue to watch this development closely as the proposed transaction moves through the regulatory process.”