Priceline Group buys OpenTable for $2.6bn

All-cash offer of $103 a share represents 46 per cent premium on closing price

Priceline’s acquisition of OpenTable adds restaurant bookings to an online travel business. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Priceline’s acquisition of OpenTable adds restaurant bookings to an online travel business. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Sat, Jun 14, 2014, 01:00

Priceline Group stepped up its acquisition spree by buying OpenTable in a deal valued at $2.6 billion (€1.9 billion), adding restaurant bookings to an online travel business spanning flights, hotels and cars. The all-cash offer of $103 per share for the popular US internet restaurant reservation company is 46 per cent higher than OpenTable’s closing price on Thursday. The deal is expected to be completed in the third quarter.

Priceline is buying a company that seats more than 15 million diners a month across more than 31,000 restaurants via online bookings. As consumers increasingly use services such as OpenTable on mobile devices, the deal boosts Priceline’s presence on smartphones and further connects the company to local businesses. For OpenTable, the deal is “a good way to get demand in new markets, just a natural bigger-pocketed partner to scale the business internationally”, said Praveen Menon, analyst at Bloomberg Industries. “They’ve been largely a US restaurants- type business. This is where Priceline comes in.”

In addition to expanding outside the US, where OpenTable generates about 81 per cent of its revenue, Priceline will also benefit from OpenTable’s mobile business, Mr Menon said.

The takeover price is 53 percent more than OpenTable’s average stock price in the prior 20 days. That’s the highest premium since 2007 for a north American internet deal of more than $1 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. News of the deal sent internet stocks higher, including GrubHub, Groupon and LiveDeal.

Revenue at OpenTable is forecast to climb 19 per cent to $226 million this year, according to analysts. OpenTable “would be a good asset for anyone trying to build out a local or mobile ecosystem”, Tom White, an analyst with Macquarie Group, said last month. The company sold shares to the public in May 2009 at $20 each, and the stock soared 59 per cent on its first day of trading. – (Bloomberg)