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Google acquires ITA for $700m, dives headfirst into airline ticket search

Darren Murph
07.02.10
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Look out, Kayak / Bing Travel -- you both are about to have your respective worlds rocked. While Google has managed to stay on top (or close to the top) when it comes to almost everything search related, the company has curiously allowed smaller niche brands to handle the travel side. Even amongst the hardcore Googlers, avid flyers typically head to a place like Kayak to weigh their options, while vacation planners either do likewise or turn to Bing Travel. In a few months time, we suspect some of that traffic will be diverted back to El Goog. The company has just announced plans to acquire Cambridge-based ITA Software for a cool $700 million, which will put one of the world's most sophisticated QPX software tools for organizing flight information into the hands of the planet's most dangerous search ally. According to Google, the pickup will allow consumers to search and buy airline tickets with less hassle and frustration, though it's quick to point out that it has "no plans to sell airline tickets [directly] to consumers." For the travel junkies in attendance, there's a high probability that you won't find any better news coming your way today than this.

[Thanks, Matthew]

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Google and ITA Software Sign Acquisition Agreement

Cambridge and Mountain View, Calif. (July 1, 2010) - ITA Software, Inc., a flight information software company, and Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) today announced that they have signed a definitive agreement for Google to acquire ITA for $700 million in cash, subject to adjustments.

"ITA's very talented team has created an impressive product to organize flight information," said Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google. "Their technology opens exciting possibilities for us to create new ways for users to more easily find flight information online, and we're looking forward to welcoming them to Google."

"It is a privilege to work with a most skilled and dedicated team to build innovative technologies that people use every day," said Jeremy Wertheimer, CEO & President, ITA Software, Inc. "We are all looking forward to continuing and expanding our efforts as part of Google."

Founded in 1996 by a team of MIT computer scientists, ITA's technically advanced solutions for organizing flight information were hailed as a catalyst for change in the online travel industry. Its innovative algorithms and deep airline industry expertise create a customizable flight data organization tool used by both airlines and online travel agencies.

The deal will allow Google to pursue the creation of new flight search tools that will enable users to find better flight information more easily on the Internet. Google is excited about ITA's QPX business and the opportunity to work closely with current and future customers. Google will honor all existing agreements and looks forward to adding new partners. More information about the deal is available at http://www.google.com/press/ita/.

Both companies have approved the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions.
Webcast and Conference Call Information

The company will host a conference call and webcast at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time (4:30 p.m. Eastern Time) today to discuss the acquisition. To access the conference call, please dial 888-778-9069 domestic and 913-312-0953 internationally. A live audio webcast of the conference call will be available at http://investor.google.com/webcast.html.
About ITA

ITA Software (www.itasoftware.com) creates innovative solutions for the travel industry. ITA's QPX software tool for organizing flight information is used by leading airlines and travel distributors worldwide including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Bing, Continental Airlines, Hotwire, Kayak, Orbitz, Southwest Airlines, TripAdvisor, United Airlines, US Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways and others. ITA is now offering a completely new airline passenger reservation system to improve the customer experience. ITA was founded by computer scientists from MIT and is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., USA.
About Google Inc.

Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google's targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.google.com
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