Senators Klobuchar and Lee Question Orbitz, Expedia Merger

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT) today called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to closely scrutinize the proposed acquisition of Orbitz by Expedia. Online travel agencies serve an important role in encouraging a competitive market for airlines, hotels, and rental cars and provide consumers with an efficient way to compare prices. This easy access to comparison shopping has encouraged companies to provide the lowest advertised price, benefiting consumers and encouraging tourism and travel. In a letter to the DOJ, the senators said that the merger raises important competition issues and urged the department to carefully review the merger.

“With Expedia’s acquisition of Travelocity earlier this year, Expedia and Orbitz control over 75 percent of the online travel bookings,” the senators wrote.“Increased consolidation among online travel agencies could transform a market that has benefited consumers into one that stifles competition. Online travel agencies have become an essential element of the travel industry, and we believe that you should closely scrutinize this merger to determine any effects on competition and the prices available to consumers.”

Klobuchar is ranking member and Lee is chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights. As leaders of the Subcommittee, the senators provide oversight of antitrust enforcement at the DOJ and Federal Trade Commission, monitor the state of competition in a variety of industries, and examine important developments in antitrust law, policy, and competitive markets. Whether involving prescription drugs, airline consolidation, media and video services, wireless and broadband connections, Internet search and other e-commerce, or a variety of intellectual property issues, the senators help ensure that competition thrives and serves consumers.

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To view the letter submitted to the DOJ, click here.

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