Priceline is a public company that owns several other travel brands, including Booking.com, Agoda.com, Cheaptickets.com, Rentalcars.com and a few other travel sites. You can now add leading travel search engine Kayak.com to that list. Priceline announced that it was buying the travel site for $1.8 billion (in cash and stock).
Priceline and Booking.com are reasonably strong brands (especially Priceline, thanks to actor William Shatner) but Kayak adds a valuable new brand to the company’s expanding portfolio.
Priceline is not currently a member of the anti-Google lobbying group FairSearch.org. However Kayak is a member. It will be interesting to see whether Priceline now joins FairSearch or withdraws Kayak from the effort. In September Kayak CEO Steve Hafner said, “We haven’t seen any impact on our business [from Google competition in travel].”
Priceline shares are down slightly in after hours trading, following the announcement.
William Shartner’s Priceline character “The Negotiator,” was “killed off” last year an in attempt to shift the direction of the company’s ad campaign. However a popular outcry caused the company and its agency to bring him back.