Expedia could own Wotif by next Friday, November 14, after delayed approval of the deal was finally granted yesterday by the New Zealand Commerce Commission, which determined that the takeover would not reduce competition.

“Market participants raised concerns that Wotif was an important source of bookings for some accommodation providers and that its removal from the New Zealand market may result in them paying higher commission rates to the remaining OTAs,” said NZCC Chairman Mark Berrry.

“However, we are satisfied that the online accommodation booking industry is dynamic.

“We are seeing sites such as TripAdvisor looking at competing directly with OTAs in this market by allowing accommodation providers to promote themselves directly alongside OTAs.

“We expect this to constrain Expedia and Booking.com in the future.”

Expedia has agreed to buy Wotif for AUD703m and, now that the final competition roadblock is cleared, the implementation date of November 14 looks realistic.

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