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April 10, 2011

Google’s $700m ITA deal cleared with restrictions

Government to monitor Google for anti-competitive behaviour

By CBR Staff Writer

Google has been given the clearance for its $700 million purchase of ITA Software. However the approval comes with restrictions.

The US Justice Department anti-trust division has asked Google to report any complaints it receives from companies that are directly or indirectly related to the proposed settlement. It also said that Google will be monitored for anti-competitive behavior including manipulation of search results.

Deputy Assistant Attorney General Joseph Wayland said, "The proposed settlement assures that airfare comparison and booking websites will be able to compete effectively, providing benefits for consumers."

Google said that it will license ITA’s travel information software to third parties and have an arbitration process for disputes over fees.

The search engine company said, "We’re moving to close this acquisition as soon as possible."

After the initial announcement of the Google-ITA deal, Microsoft and a few online travel sites such as and Expedia had asked the court to review the deal, citing monopoly concerns. They were represented by

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The Justice Department agreed that unless modified, the acquisition "would have substantially lessened competition among providers of comparative flight search websites in the United States."

The Department took about eight months to conclude the review. has welcomed the conditions imposed on the deal.

"By putting in place strong, ongoing oversight and enforcement tools, the department has ensured that consumers will continue to benefit from vibrant competition and innovation in travel search," said.

The federal judge has to approve the proposed settlement.

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