The deal indirectly touches the media business, and not just because lots of people in Hollywood use Open Table to make their restaurant reservations and Priceline‘s ads feature William Shatner and The Big Bang Theory‘s Kaley Cuoco. Priceline’s agreement to pay a whopping $2.6B in cash for Open Table shows how optimistic many have become about the advertising and sales opportunities for enterprises that offer local data to mobile devices. Open Table shares are up 47.5% to about $103.80 this morning after Priceline said it will pay $103 per share for the company. The high valuation had a spill-over effect on Yelp whose shares are +10.8%. “Local, in our view, remains one of the most compelling sub-sectors within internet, given that we are still in the very early stages of a share shift in local ad budgets from offline to online media,” Barclay’s Christopher Merwin says this morning. He adds that Open Table’s “treasure trove of data” should help Priceline to target sales messages to consumers, noting that Open Table’s planned rollout into 20 U.S. cities this year was “a likely catalyst behind the deal.”
Open Table says it seats more than 15M people each month at more than 31,000 restaurants. “They provide us with a natural extension into restaurant marketing service and a wonderful and highly-valued booking experience for our global customers,” says Priceline CEO Darren Huston.