Shares of online travel site Expedia (EXPE) have rallied about 15% this week on rumors of a buyout offer forthcoming, perhaps from Google (GOOG). I don’t own EXPE, but if I did, a buyout offer from Google is not something I would place a very high probability on.
Thus far, of the many acquisitions Google has made, the vast majority have focused on their core business of advertising, not e-commerce. Sure, Google could buy a site like Expedia and create a very impressive (and likely popular) travel portal from which it could generate both ad revenue and transaction fees. For those investors who want Google to expand the number of ways the search giant makes money, generating fees from e-commerce transactions, as well as advertising such offers, would go a long way in diversifying the company’s profit center.
That said, Google has not shown enough interest in doing so for us to think this is going to be part of their growth plan in the short term. While I think buying a site like Expedia would be a good move for Google, I don’t think an offer is forthcoming, and therefore EXPE shareholders should consider their investment options with such rumors at the forefront of traders’ minds at the moment.
Full Disclosure: Long shares of GOOG, no position in EXPE at the time of writing