The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has raised concerns over potential competition issues arising from the proposed $700 million takeover bid by US-based online travel company Expedia for Australian travel booking website Wotif.com.
“The ACCC is seeking further information to determine whether the proposed acquisition is likely to substantially lessen competition in the market for the online distribution of Australian accommodation,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
The deal involves two of the country’s three largest online travel companies, Booking.com and Agoda, leaving only two major players on the Australian market – Expedia and fellow US giant Priceline.
The ACCC is concerned the Australian market has the potential to increase the rate of commissions charged to hotels and other accommodation providers in Australia.
The watchdog said its preliminary view is that the proposed acquisition is unlikely to raise competition concerns, but is inviting further submissions from the market and will make a final decision by October 2.
ABS data shows lift in retail spending
Australians are heading back to cafes, restaurants and department stores, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which shows Australian retail sales rose for a second consecutive month in July.
The figures show retail sales rose 0.4% in July to $23.3 billion, up 5.8% for the year.
Cafes, restaurants and take-away food services jumped by a seasonally adjusted estimate of 1.4%, while department stores rose 1.9%.
New South Wales showed the greatest improvement, with consumers lifting their spending in the state by 0.3%.
Shares down on open
Aussie shares have opened lower this morning, with continued pressure in the resources sector keeping the market subdued.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was down 15.3 points to 5616 points at 12.33pm AEST. On Thursday, the Dow Jones closed 8.7 points lower, down 0.05% to 17069.6 points.