Expedia to acquire Orbitz for $1.6 bn

New York, Feb 12 (EFE).- Expedia Inc., one of the world's largest online travel companies, has agreed to acquire rival Orbitz Worldwide in a deal valued at approximately $1.6 billion, the companies said in a joint news release Thursday.

"We are attracted to the Orbitz Worldwide business because of its strong brands and impressive team. This acquisition will allow us to deliver best-in-class experiences to an even wider set of travelers all over the world," Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said.

Orbitz shareholders will receive $12 per share in cash, a premium of approximately 29 percent over the volume weighted average share price for the five trading days up to and including Feb. 11, the companies said.

The transaction, which has already received the green light from both companies' boards of directors, still is subject to approval by Orbitz shareholders and regulatory approval.

Expedia's share price was up by more than 15 percent Thursday on the Nasdaq, while Orbitz - whose stock has soared 69 percent over the past 12 months - rose more than 21 percent on the New York Stock Exchange.