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Priceline Buys OpenTable for $2.6 Billion; OpenTable to Operate Independently

Fri June 13 2014 12:50 pm  http://www.arlingtoncardinal.com/?p=70111
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The global travel booking company Priceline announced Friday it is acquiring OpenTable Inc. in a $2.6 billion deal that would put Priceline align restaurant reservations much what it does hotel bookings. OpenTable will remain headquartered in San Francisco — led by its current management team — and will operate as an independent business.

OpenTable CEO Matt Roberts praised Priceline’s expertise in online marketing globally on all types of devices, and is working on making it easier to sign up new restaurants to its service — creating a cloud-based system, instead of using the hardware it now needs restaurants to install to use OpenTable.

“Travelers are diners,” Priceline Group CEO and President Darren Huston said on a conference call. “It’s the same customers. There’s opportunity to cross-promote brands.” Huston said Priceline’s first goal is to expand OpenTable internationally.

OpenTable serves more than 15 million diners per month at more than 31,000 restaurants. OpenTable allows users to make free reservations at restaurants through its website and mobile apps. OpenTable makes money by charging restaurants fees for the bookings. OpenTable users can also read reviews and view menus through the website or mobile app.

Priceline serves an average of more than 1 million guests, who stay in accommodations booked each night (using brands Priceline, Booking.com, Active Hotels and Agoda). Priceline has relationships with more than 480,000 properties in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.

OpenTable was founded in 1998 and has enjoyed double-digit growth for the past several years. Last year OpenTable generated revenue of $190 million — up 18 percent from 2012 and more than triple its 2008 revenue of $55.8 million.

Priceline, which was founded in 1997, and is based in Norwalk, Connecticut, will pay $103 per share, which is a 46 percent premium to OpenTable Inc.’s Thursday closing price of $70.43.

Shares of OpenTable rose 33.05, almost 47 percent to $103.46 in midday trading Friday. Priceline shares fell $22.16, or 1.8 percent, to $1,203.84.

Priceline, which generated sales of $6.8 billion last year, has made a series of travel-related acquisitions over the last decade, most recently last year’s purchase of online travel site Kayak.com.


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