US Government Expected to Challenge Google's ITA Acquisition

For Google, every major acquisition is, increasingly, an uphill battle. The company announced its intention to buy ITA Software, a maker of flight search technology used by many travel websites and related services, last summer. But the move has been contested by many competing companies. The US Department of Justice has been reviewing the deal and it now looks like it's getting ready to contest the acquisition.

Granted, the AdMob deal got the same level of scrutiny and, for a while, it also looked like the government was ready to challenge the deal, only to allow it at the last moment.

This time around, according to Bloomberg, officials are preparing their case for a possible move to block the acquisition due to antitrust issues. However, the government hasn't decided whether to block the deal yet.

The doubling down on efforts to make a case came after Google urged the authorities to come to a decision, citing federal law which requires the government to announce whether it will challenge a deal or not within 30 days.

Google was likely frustrated by the stand-off, without government approval it could not go forward with the acquisition despite announcing its intentions in July last year.

A decision from the Justice Department is now expected to come in early February, sources said. Google would not comment on the rumors, but said that it is confident that the government will approve the acquisition.

Google doesn't have any type of travel services at the moment but the fear is that by offering its own flight data all of the travel sites, which depend on Google for traffic, would be affected.

Bing already offers flight data results which is one of the touted features of the Microsoft search engine. However, ITA software and data powers Bing along with a number of popular travel sites including, and others.

Google has ensured everyone that it plans to service existing customers and said that there are alternatives to ITA, but the competition is not convinced. Still, probably the biggest worry is not that they won't have access to data but rather that Google will be offering a solution which competes with existing services.

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