NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of online travel companies fell Monday after Google announced that the acquisition of Frommer's brand of travel guides, further building up its array of travel search and review assets.
The hit to stocks including Priceline.com Inc., Orbitz Worldwide Inc. and Expedia Inc., added to losses from last week, after several companies said growing economic uncertainty is leading to less travel, especially in Europe. Fear that a new and powerful competitor like Google Inc. could heighten competition in an already weak market rattled investors.
Google bought the Zagat restaurant review service and already offers flight search. It plans to use Frommer's guides to hotels and destinations around the world to complement the Zagat listings.
Google is buying Frommer's from publisher John Wiley & Sons Inc. in a deal that includes John Wiley's other travel-related businesses. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Frommer's got its start in 1957 with the publication of Arthur Frommer's "Europe on $5 a Day." Frommer's now publishes more than 300 guidebooks and runs the Frommers.com website.
The travel industry, in general, has remained strong as concerns mounted about the weakening global economy. But recent warnings, including those from major hotel chains like Marriott International Inc., have suggested that slowing international growth is starting to cause travelers to rethink their plans. Online travel companies are also being hurt by airlines' continued effort to keep costs low. Airlines are cutting flights to save money, which means fewer seats for travel bookers to sell.
Most companies reported lower quarterly results last week.
In afternoon trading, shares of Orbitz lost 14 cents, or 4 percent, to hit $3.21. TripAdvisor gave up $1.61, or 5 percent, to $33.49. Priceline slipped $2.93 to $560.23 and Expedia fell 77 cents to $53.67.