Priceline Buying OpenTable For $2.6 Billion In Cash

Hotel booking site Priceline has agreed to acquire reservation booking company OpenTable for $2.6 billion in cash, adding the leader in digital reservations to its portfolio, the Wall Street Journal reports. OpenTable has over 31,000 restaurants on board its platform, and sees an average of 15 million people book reservations on its site and mobile apps per month.

Priceline offered $103 per share in cash as part of the deal, which the WSJ notes is a 46 percent increase over its closing market price on Thursday. Clearly Priceline sees a lot of potential for growth in the market, and given the total size of the restaurant industry in the U.S. compared to OpenTable’s current client base, that seems likely.

Last month, TripAdvisor bought Lafourchette, a Paris-based startup that offers similar services to OpenTable. The French company has far fewer restaurants, at around 12,000 according to the WSJ, but other startups are also beginning to emerge and challenge OpenTable on pricing (the company charges restaurants a monthly fee for its services). Other’s like Boston’s SpoonSpoon are using a Hotel Tonight-style last-minute reservation model for cancellations.

OpenTable has a heavy lead, however, and key partnerships with companies like Apple, where its services appear in Siri and other key OS-level integrations. Plus, Priceline has a wide view on the hospitality market, with previous acquisitions including and Kayak, so this could help both companies broaden the scope and value of their offering to travelers.