Sleep on this: Expedia buys vacation-rental site HomeAway

Airbnb, which won a ballot-box battle this week in San Francisco to do business-as-usual, isn’t the only home-sharing site to make news:

Travel booking site Expedia announced it’s scooping up short-term rental marketplace HomeAway for a cool $3.9 billion. The goal: to boost its presence in the vacation rental market. Based in Bellevue, Washington, Expedia said it’s forking out about $38.31 in cash and stock for each share of HomeAway,based in Austin, Texas. The deal is expected to wrap up next year.

This mega-deal puts Expedia, a travel powerhouse that owns Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, Orbitz and Travelocity, head-to-head with Airbnb at a time when the travel and home-sharing market is exploding.

“We have long had our eyes on the fast growing ~$100 billion alternative accommodations space and have been building on our partnership with HomeAway, a global leader in vacation rentals, for two years,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, the CEO of Expedia. “Bringing HomeAway into the Expedia, Inc. family and adding its leading brands to our portfolio of the most trusted brands in travel is a logical next step.”

Khosrowshahi said that Expedia has “tremendous respect for the HomeAway team and the business they have built.

“With our expertise in powering global transactional platforms and our industry-leading technology capabilities, we look forward to partnering with them to accelerate their shift from a classified marketplace to an online, transactional model to create even better experiences for HomeAway’s global traveler audience and the owners and managers of its 1.2 million properties around the world.”

HomeAway, by the way, has been busy right here in Silicon Valley. And the service is expected to do a bang-up business for Super Bowl 50, which comes to Santa Clara in February as I wrote here:

We’re still months away from kickoff for Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, but the VACANCY signs are already popping up like mushrooms all over the Bay Area. They are not, however, popping up at hotels, many of which are already sold out.

Joining what has become an annual tradition that gathers more steam each winter, scores of residents of the Bay Area hosting the big game are jumping into the hospitality business, using sites like Airbnb and VRBO.com to rent out their homes, apartments, cottages and spare bedrooms to the football faithful coming to town.

Shares of HomeAway, which trades under the symbol AWAY, soared Thursday on the news, climbing nearly 25 percent. Expedia shares were up nearly four percent in mid-day trading.

Photo: HomeAway

 

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