HomeAway, an online marketplace for vacation rentals, has four offices in Austin, including its downtown corporate headquarters at 1011 W. Fifth St., Ste. 300, and its new Domain office, which opened in October 2014 at 11800 Domain Drive.
Representatives from HomeAway declined to comment further on the deal and how it might affect the company’s presence and employees in Austin, but leaders from both companies hosted a conference call Nov. 4 with investors.
“We anticipate HomeAway will continue to be run relatively autonomously out of Austin,” said Mark Okerstrom, Expedia chief financial officer and executive vice president of operations, during the call.
HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples said he is excited about the deal with Expedia because the companies are similar, including that both own several brands and face similar challenges.
“We think we will derive significant benefits in order to make our products even better than they are today,” Sharples said during the call.
Although both boards of directors for the companies approved the acquisition, the deal will not officially be final until the first quarter of 2016. Expedia will pay HomeAway $1 billion in cash, and the remainder of the cost will come from Expedia stock.
Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in the call that the addition of HomeAway’s inventory will allow the two companies together to have complementary coverage of the industry.
“We have long had our eyes on the fast growing ~$100 billion alternative accommodations space and have been building on our partnership with HomeAway, a global leader in vacation rentals, for two years,” he said in a news release. “Bringing HomeAway into the Expedia Inc. family and adding its leading brands to our portfolio of the most trusted brands in travel is a logical next step.”
Additionally, Sharples also announced HomeAway plans to implement a traveler’s fee for online bookings in the first half of 2016. The fee likely will be between 8 and 10 percent below those of competitors, he said. Other changes will keep both travelers and suppliers incentivized to use the company, such as lower commission rates for paper-booking suppliers, he said.
“I expect the business model changes to be a huge win for suppliers and travelers,” he said.
Amy is the managing editor for nine publications in Central Texas. She joined Community Impact in September 2010, serving as reporter and senior editor for the Northwest Austin edition as well as covering transportation in the Austin metro. She graduated from Truman State University in her native state of Missouri, and previously worked for Pioneer Press in the Chicago area. She enjoys playing board games and spending time with her husband, son and two cats.
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