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Expedia to buy stake in German hotel site

NEW YORK (AP) -- Expedia, the world's largest online travel agency, said Friday it's taking a majority stake in German hotel search site Trivago for about $632 million in cash and stock.

With the acquisition of 61.6 percent of Trivago, Expedia will beef up its European presence, allowing it to better compete with Priceline.com. The deal will also deepen its roots in the hotel industry, which has grown faster than other segments. Expedia owns several websites besides its namesake, including hotels.com and hotwire.com.

Expedia, which is based in Bellevue, Wash., expects the deal to boost earnings next year. Trivago was founded seven years ago and processes about 100 million hotel searches annually.

The companies expect the deal to close in the first half of next year barring any unexpected regulatory hurdles.

Shares of Expedia fell $1.33, or 2 percent, to $59.58 in afternoon trading amid a broad market downturn. The stock has doubled this year.