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Kayak Welcomes Google As Travel Search Competitor, With ITA Acquisition Still Under DOJ Review
In a bit of a surprising interview on Bloomberg News, Kayak.com’s co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Paul English boldly stated that the travel search engine doesn’t fear Google’s entrance into the travel search market via the proposed acquisition of ITA Software.
Kayak is officially listed as a member of the FairSearch Organization, but Google claims English is stating the opposite of what the group has been using as a foundational argument to the DOJ in its opposition to the acquisition. Though English mentioned that they are glad DOJ is looking closely at the terms of the acquisition.
Kayak.com CTO Paul English On Bloomberg
In the interview, English cites a couple reasons why they don’t see Google as such a major threat:
- They’ve anticipated Google’s entrance into travel search market for awhile
- Google has failed with other purchases & acquisitions
- Kayak uses data from ITA only for US flight data (not hotel bookings), among other sources
- They have a small, but nimble & aggressive tech team focused on innovation in travel (also located in Cambridge MA, near ITA Software) building out mobile features, simplifying travel search and releasing site updates weekly
Questions about Kayak’s proposed IPO were strictly off limits during the interview due to SEC rules & regulations, but you can watch the brief interview here:
Kayak IPO Timing
Travel industry analyst Dennis Schaal at Tnooz floated two theories on when Kayak’s proposed IPO might happen, saying the DOJ decision on the ITA acquisition either needs to happen first to clear up any uncertainty around Kayak’s value, or that Kayak can execute the IPO in advance of the decision on ITA, because the information is already transparent in financial filings.