Expedia takes Decolar.com stake as it deepens Latin America ties
By Jeffrey Dastin
March 10 (Reuters) - Expedia Inc said on Tuesday it will take a minority stake in Latin American online travel company Decolar.com Inc, expanding its exposure in the region.
Expedia has invested $270 million for a stake of under 20 percent of Decolar and has broadened the hotel listings the companies have shared since 2002, Expedia's Chief Financial Officer Mark Okerstrom told investors at a Piper Jaffray & Co conference.
The deal marks the latest expansion of Expedia, the world's second-largest online travel company by bookings after the Priceline Group Inc.
Driving industry consolidation, Expedia in January purchased Travelocity for $280 million and in February announced plans to acquire Orbitz Worldwide Inc for more than $1.3 billion.
"Our strategy is very clearly to own and empower the best travel brands that exist in the world," Okerstrom said. Expedia is excited "to develop (its) relationship over time" with Decolar, he added.
Shares of Expedia were down about 0.9 percent in afternoon trading.
S&P Capital IQ analyst Tuna Amobi said the deal appears structured in such a way that Expedia could potentially increase its investment in Decolar to a controlling stake.
"It's a playbook that we've seen before," Amobi said in an email. Continuación...