Google has agreed to acquire ITA, a flight information software company for $700 million in cash, in a bid to enter the lucrative digital travel market. It also puts Google in more direct competition with Microsoft’s Bing search engine, which uses ITA’s data to power its own flight tracker, as well as major travel sites such as Cheapflights and Expedia, which also use ITA’s data.
ITA Software, Inc., a flight information software company, and Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) today announced that they have signed a definitive agreement for Google to acquire ITA for $700 million in cash, subject to adjustments.
“ITA’s very talented team has created an impressive product to organize flight information,” said Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google. “Their technology opens exciting possibilities for us to create new ways for users to more easily find flight information online, and we’re looking forward to welcoming them to Google.”
“It is a privilege to work with a most skilled and dedicated team to build innovative technologies that people use every day,” said Jeremy Wertheimer, CEO & President, ITA Software, Inc. “We are all looking forward to continuing and expanding our efforts as part of Google.”
Founded in 1996 by a team of MIT computer scientists, ITA’s technically advanced solutions for organizing flight information were hailed as a catalyst for change in the online travel industry. Its innovative algorithms and deep airline industry expertise create a customizable flight data organization tool used by both airlines and online travel agencies.
The deal will allow Google to pursue the creation of new flight search tools that will enable users to find better flight information more easily on the Internet. Google is excited about ITA’s QPX business and the opportunity to work closely with current and future customers. Google will honor all existing agreements and looks forward to adding new partners. More information about the deal is available at http://www.google.com/press/ita/.
Both companies have approved the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions.
* Google’s acquisition of ITA Software will create a new, easier way for users to find better flight information online, which should encourage more users to make their flight purchases online.
* The acquisition will benefit passengers, airlines and online travel agencies by making it easier for users to comparison shop for flights and airfares and by driving more potential customers to airlines’ and online travel agencies’ websites. Google won’t be setting airfare prices and has no plans to sell airline tickets to consumers.
* Because Google doesn’t currently compete against ITA Software, the deal will not change existing market shares. We are very excited about ITA Software’s QPX business, and we’re looking forward to working with current and future customers. Google will honor all existing agreements, and we’re also enthusiastic about adding new partners. – read more from Google