Google’s proposed $750 million acquisition of travel search technology provider ITA Software isn’t ready for take off quite yet; Google says the Department of Justice wants more information about the acquisition before giving the deal its OK.
In making the so-called “second request,” the Justice Department is taking the same step it did when it asked Google for more information about its purchase of mobile ad network AdMob. It ultimately approved that deal, after scrutinizing it for months.
This time around, the scrutiny is more expected; CEO Eric Schmidt had warned when the ITA acquisition was announced that he expected regulators would “spend a fair amount of time” reviewing the acquisition, although he predicted that regulators would ultimately approve it.
ITA Software provides back-end search and booking technology to both airlines and travel search engines, and travel executives have publicly raised concerns that a Google-ITA Software tieup could be anti-competitive, since a rival would control the technology that some of them rely on, and Google (NSDQ: GOOG) could potentially use its dominance of the overall search market to push its own travel offering.
Google has said it expects to use ITA Software to build new “flight search tools,” although it hasn’t specified what those will look like. In its announcement today, Google reemphasizes that it’s “confident that the DOJ will conclude that online travel will remain competitive after this acquisition closes.”