A deal could be just days away, but insiders warn it could all unravel.
Politico reports that Google (GOOG) and the Department of Justice could be "just days away" from an agreement for the search giant to acquire ITA Flight pricing and scheduling software. But negotiations are getting tense and the deal could unravel at any moment.
Among conditions on the table are possible provisions under which Google would license ITA software to rivals and others aimed at easing industry concerns that Google will use its search dominance to unfairly disadvantage rivals in the online travel business.
A coalition of flight booking companies have banded together to oppose the deal in a coalition called Fairsearch.org. The group contends that a Google-ITA merger would stifle competition in the online flight purchasing industry.
As part of its defense, Google has noted that Expedia, Travelocity or Priceline, the top three travel sites, doen't even use ITA software. Videos published by both sides, below:
In the battle of propaganda videos, Google fires back at the FairSearch.org consortium who look to gain public support in blocking the Google ITA acquisition.
Google (GOOG) makes its case that acquiring ITA won't adversely affect competition and makes the statement: "[Google] won't be setting airfare prices and has no plans to sell airline tickets to consumers". Google may "help" airlines sell tickets to their customers, however, and make a few bucks on each transaction. That would keep Google true MORESeth Weintraub - Nov 8, 2010 10:33 AM ET
Google's $700 million purchase of flight information service ITA is covered by eight analysts.
The deal, announced yesterday, puts Google (GOOG) in the DoJ's regulatory cross hairs once again while adding functionality that its Yahoo (YHOO) and Microsoft (MSFT) Bing rivals use.
Citigroup is neutral on the buy, noting that they anticipate rigorous regulatory reviews.
We view this step as very similar to (tho much more $ than) Google's Comparison Ad move into the Credit MORESeth Weintraub - Jul 2, 2010 1:02 PM ET
Google enters yet another information space, picking up Cambridge, Massachusetts-based flight booking software company ITA.
Announced on the Official Google Blog, the $700 million deal will give Google (GOOG) access to the back end of many of the bigger flight search engines that power web travel search around the web.
ITA's software powers major booking engines like Orbitz, Kayak and Microsoft's (MSFT) Bing amongst many others.
Clearly, there will be some regulatory issues to overcome.
Google MORESeth Weintraub - Jul 1, 2010 6:52 PM ET
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