Exclusive-Booking set to get EU antitrust warning on Etraveli deal, sources say

FILE PHOTO: European flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels,

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -Online travel agency Booking Holdings Inc is expected to receive an EU antitrust warning about its 1.63 billion euro bid for Sweden-based Etraveli Group, three people familiar with the matter said.

The European Commission, which acts as the competition enforcer for the European Union, is likely to send a statement of objections to the companies shortly, detailing possible anti-competitive effects of the takeover, the people said.

They said, however, that a final decision has not been made yet. Such a document ramps up pressure on companies to offer remedies to address the concerns.

The EU antitrust watchdog, which is scheduled to decide on the deal by Aug. 30, declined to comment.

Booking said: "We have been and continue to work closely with the European Commission."

Booking announced the proposed acquisition of private equity firm CVC Capital Partners-owned Etraveli in November 2021.

Etraveli owns the brands Gotogate and Mytrip and also operates airline integration company TripStack.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)