CENDANTS $1.25 billion acquisition of
Orbitz, if approved, could change the online agency balance of
power and deal another blow to Worldspans e-commerce clout.
Cendants Web businesses, including CheapTickets and Lodging.com,
would edge out Travelocity in online market share, 22% to 20%,
according to Legg Mason, enabling the Cendant sites to take the No.
2 position behind IAC/InterActiveCorp. For now, Cendant plans to
maintain the Orbitz, CheapTickets and Lodging.com brands and to
consolidate their operations -- and platforms -- in
WORLDSPANS CONTRACT with Orbitz runs through 2011, and Sam
Katz, the chairman and CEO of Cendants Travel Distribution Services
division, said the agreement stays in place. Many observers,
however, expect that relationship to dissolve well before the next
decade. In other GDS matters, Orbitz was known to be working on an
agency desktop solution. With Galileo the only GDS without a viable
browser-based desktop, merging an Orbitz solution with Galileos GDS
expertise may enable Cendant to fine-tune a new GDS offering. This
acquisition gives us the ability to go after a browser-based
desktop for agents with a better offering, a stronger offering than
anyone else, Katz said.
ORBITZ went live with the agencys Supplier Link
direct-connect technology, making United the seventh carrier to do
so. An eighth carrier, Delta, is in the implementation phase,
Orbitz said. Once Delta is onboard, all of Orbitzs founding
airlines plus Alaska and AmericaWest will have gone to the direct
links. In bypassing Worldspan in its Orbitz bookings, the airlines
pay Orbitz a $4 fee per ticket.
LUFTHANSA tapped IBM and Amadeus to operate
Lufthansa.com. Under a five-year agreement, Amadeus
e-Travel e-commerce business will provide and operate booking and
faring functionality on the Web site, and IBM will offer
consulting, maintenance and hosting operations. The two companies
will also provide infrastructure, middleware and network
technologies for the project, the airline said.
PRICELINE.COM increased its hotel clout in
Europe with the acquisition of Active Hotels, a reservations
service and distributor, for some $161 million. Active Hotels,
which will operate as an independent business, has relationships
with about 8,000 properties in the U.K. and Europe, Priceline said.
Active Hotels gross bookings are expected to come in at $160
million through the 12 months ended Sept. 30, Priceline