TripAdvisor busy buying in 2013

Contact: Brian Satterfield

After a few slow years of M&A activity, online travel reservation services provider TripAdvisor has kicked its dealmaking into high gear in 2013. In the first five months of the year alone, the company has already acquired four companies, equaling its total number of transactions over the past three years combined.

TripAdvisor’s most recent move came yesterday when it reached into Spain for vacation housing rental classified ads website, an acquisition that complements the company’s core business model. On May 2, the company bolstered its cruise booking capabilities when it bought the talent and technology assets of three-year-old CruiseWise, which had taken in only $1.6m in venture funding. Nearly one-third of TripAdvisor’s 17 deals have occurred since the company spun off from former parent Expedia and began trading on the Nasdaq in December 2011.

This M&A surge comes at a time when many of its competitors are absent from the market. Travelocity hasn’t inked an acquisition since 2009, and TripAdvisor’s former parent Expedia has also been reluctant to make deals, with just two recorded purchases in the past three years.

Despite TripAdvisor’s moves, deal volume in the online travel sector is down nearly 45% so far in 2013 compared with the same time period in the previous year. In fact, TripAdvisor alone has been responsible for exactly half of all transactions in the sector this year.

Posted in M&A