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Expedia and friends team up to stop Google's travel play

ITA buy would be anti-competitive

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A group of travel sites are teaming up to fight Google's proposed takeover of ITA Software.

The group calls itself Fairsearch.org and includes Expedia, Kayak, tripadvisor, travelocity and Sabre Holdings.

Google's $700m bid for the firm has already attracted interest from the Department of Justice. Google said in August it had received a second request for information from the DOJ.

ITA provides flight prices, timetables and other information. Google insists the takeover would not be anti-competitive because it is not in the travel business.

But Fairsearch warns that Google's lack of transparency will scupper the market for other travel info providers. It is also concerned because ITA Software is used by most of Google's rival flight information sites - ITA has 65 per cent of the market for ticket sales direct from airlines - about $25bn in sales in 2009.

ITA was founded by graduates from MIT. Airlines use their software to offer passengers personalised flight data. ®

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