Priceline.com buys travel rival Kayak

Two popular travel sites—Priceline.com and Kayak—are joining forces in a $1.8 billion deal that may change the way you plan your vacations.

Priceline on Thursday announced that it was buying Kayak, which only went public in July. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close early next year.

Priceline president and CEO Jeffery Boyd in a statement said the company wanted to buy Kayak because it has “built a strong brand in online travel research,” every month processing more than 100 million travel queries online and through its mobile app.

“Kayak also has world class technology and a tradition of innovation in building great user interfaces across multiple platforms and devices,” Boyd added. “We believe we can be helpful with Kayak’s plans to build a global online travel brand.”

Kayak’s mobile apps—such as this iPad version—have been popular downloads for smartphone and tablet owners.

That could include the mobile front, where Kayak has both paid and free offerings on Apple’s iOS Store as well as a free Android app. Priceline only has free mobile offerings for iOS and Android, and its apps are less popular than Kayak’s.

Neither company detailed what changes, if any, will occur on the websites or the mobile arena as a result of the deal, but a news release announcing the acquisition said Kayak’s management team will continue to run the site’s operations independently as a subsidiary of Priceline.

On Thursday, Kayak also reported a third-quarter profit of $8 million, up 14 percent over the same quarter last year. The company saw revenues of $78.6 million, a 29 percent increase over the third quarter of 2011.

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