For years we have we have come to know William Shatter as the Priceline negotiator but even he never pulled off a deal like the Priceline Group Inc. announced on Friday. That is when the website so famous for giving us specular deals on used hotel rooms agreed to purchase Opentable, a restaurant reservation website, for $2.6 billion.
“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.”
That price breaks down to $103 per share which is $32.57 more than the $70.43 a share the stock closed at on Thursday. Buying a company at a 46% premium might seem a little strange for a company know for getting things at a discount. When you factor in that OpenTable provides reservation in over 31.0000 restaurants it makes perfect sense.
“This will be a one-stop solution to the customers,” Brian Sozzi, of Belus Capital Advisors said about the deal. He noted that Priceline is becoming like an Amazon.com to travelers.
OpenTable is just the latest acquisition by Priceline. In late 2012 they purchased the discount travel site Kayak. Priceline also acquired discount lodging site Booking.com back is 2005. This deal means that Priceline customers can arrange their entire vacation from one site.
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