US regulator requests more detail on Google ITA deal

US regulators looking into Google’s  proposed $700 million takeover of ITA Software have asked the search giant for more information about the deal.

In an official Google blog post, Andrew Silverman, the search giant’s senior product manager, said: “This week we received what’s called a ‘second request,’  which means that the US Department of Justice is asking for more information so that they can continue to review the deal.”

He added: “While this means we won’t be closing the deal right away, we’re confident that the DOJ will conclude that online travel will remain competitive after this acquisition closes.”

To make his point, Silverman said that the travel industry would remain competitive if the Google/ITA deal took place.

He mentioned Expedia’s Best Fare Search and Worldspan’s e-Pricing tools as examples of similar products to ITA.

Commentators in the US think that the deal will still go ahead, although the final okay might take longer than Google has planned for.

Google is not expecting any specific investigation into the ITA takeover in Europe because “ITA Software’s European revenues aren’t large enough to warrant European regulatory review”.

However, coverage in the Financial Times  suggests that the European regulators are considering a full investigation into Google’s dominance of the search market.

An informal review is currently under way, but complaints into Google’s activities by three blue-chip giants – one of which is Microsoft – could prompt an official probe.


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