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Airbnb Might Buy Wyndham’s European Vacation Rental Business

Can we say we told you so? As Airbnb matures and readies itself for an IPO, scaling up its traditional vacation rental market share will be crucial, and buying Wyndham’s European business would give the company a big boost. On the other hand, don’t count out AccorHotels. Then again, why is Wyndham selling this. Why not keep it to compete against Airbnb, HomeAway, and AccorHotels?

Airbnb Inc. is among potential suitors for Wyndham Worldwide Corp.’s European vacation-rental business, people familiar with the matter said.

First-round bids are due this month for the travel company’s European home unit, which could fetch more than $1 billion, said the people, asking not to be identified as the details aren’t public. Airbnb is in the early stages of considering acquiring the business, which may also attract interest from private equity firms, the people said. The home-rental upstart could also team up with a buyout firm to make a bid, one of the people said.

Representatives for Airbnb and Wyndham declined to comment. Wyndham shares jumped 1.5 percent to $109 at 3:50 p.m. in New York.

Acquiring Wyndham’s European inventory, which boasts tens of thousands of properties in ritzy vacation towns like Dalmatia, Croatia, and Santorini, Greece, would help Airbnb expand its luxury supply and attract higher paying travelers as it battles Expedia Inc. and Priceline Group Inc.

In recent years, the three travel companies have increased their focus on vacation-home rentals, which are more lucrative than collecting a fee on transactions for small apartments and hotel rooms. In February, Airbnb acquired Montreal-based Luxury Retreats, which specializes in high-end villa rentals and concierge services in the Caribbean.

Wyndham, which owns the Ramada and Days Inn brands, said in August it plans to spin off its hotel unit, consolidate its timeshare business and explore alternatives for the European rental brands.

By Ed Hammond, Kiel Porter, and Olivia Zaleski Courtesy SKIFT / Bloomberg

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