How OpenTable Will Grow Even More Owned by Priceline

Source: Thinkstock
Online travel company Priceline Group Inc. (NASDAQ: PCLN) announced Friday morning that it has entered a definitive agreement with OpenTable Inc. (NASDAQ: OPEN) to acquire all the outstanding shares of OpenTable for $103 per share in an all cash deal worth $2.6 billion. The price represents a 46% premium over OpenTable’s Thursday night closing price of $70.43.

Since coming public in the first half of 2009, OpenTable’s shares have risen 145% and peaked at an all-time high of more than $115 in April of 2011. Shares are down about 10% year-to-date however.

The premium Priceline is paying looks steep, but OpenTable’s most attractive feature is its relationship with more than 31,000 dining establishments around the world. The online reservation company seats 15 million diners a month, and OpenTable’s mobile platform, which the company introduced in 2008, has seated a total of 125 million diners.

What Priceline expects to be able to do is to grow OpenTable’s inventory of dining spots, especially overseas and on mobile devices. The firm has acquired travel sites like and KAYAK and needs to look elsewhere for growth. Booking a table at a restaurant is not much different from booking a room or a flight. With OpenTable’s expertise and Priceline’s might, this looks like a very good deal for both companies.

OpenTable shares were up 47% in premarket trading Friday morning to $103.53, above the 52-week range of $59.65 to $87.48.

Priceline traded down fractionally, at $1,225.00 in a 52-week range of $791.15 to $1,378.96.

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