Priceline announced today that it’s acquiring OpenTable for $2.6 billion in an all-cash deal.

This is the first time that the Priceline Group has ventured into the restaurant reservations world. Priceline CEO Darren Huston explains the logic behind the acquisition,

“They provide us with a natural extension into restaurant marketing services and a wonderful and highly-valued booking experience for our global customers.”

Meanwhile in Europe, French OpenTable equivalent LaFourchette was similarly acquired by TripAdvisor at the beginning of May, reports TechCrunch. That firm operates primarily in France, Spain, and Switzerland, and currently considers OpenTable its biggest competition.

Priceline says that it currently books an average of over 1 million guests each night in over 480,000 properties spread across 200 countries worldwide.

OpenTable currently seats more than 15 million diners per month in over 31,000 restaurantsEater notes that OpenTable also has a partnership with restaurant recommendation site Urbanspoon, and it acquired mobile food porn app Foodspotting in 2013.

The online reservation wars are really heating up, considering a growing number of companies like Yelp and Resy recently launched restaurant reservation platforms and are ready to compete.

[via Eater]

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