Google Inc. (GOOG:US) agreed to acquire all of John Wiley & Sons Inc. (A:US)’s travel assets, including the Frommer’s brand, as the owner of the world’s largest Internet search engine expands local services.
Terms weren’t disclosed. The deal would give Mountain View, California-based Google about 350 travel guides and the Frommers.com travel-planning website. John Wiley, based in Hoboken, New Jersey, said in March it was exploring opportunities to sell publishing assets.
Google is providing more of its own content to Web surfers by adding information on hotels and restaurants around the world, a bid to attract users and advertisers from sites such as Yelp Inc. and TripAdvisor Inc. (TRIP:US) Travel is an important category for Google, and the company has shown it’s willing to invest in the market, said Sameet Sinha, an analyst at B. Riley & Co.
“The new mantra is, ‘We want you to stay on Google and make this your destination, not just your gateway,’ ” he said. “They need their own content for that.”
Google has already combined last year’s purchase of restaurant-guide publisher Zagat Survey LLC with its own social network, Google+, to give users more local information.
“The Frommer’s team and the quality and scope of their content will be a great addition to the Zagat team,” Google said in an e-mailed statement today. “We can’t wait to start working with them on our goal to provide a review for every relevant place in the world.”
Wiley’s proceeds from the sale will be redeployed to support growth opportunities in other businesses, the publisher said in a statement. Frommer’s, started in 1957 with Arthur Frommer’s guidebook “Europe on $5 a Day,” was acquired by Wiley in 2001.
Google shares rose 2.8 percent to $660.01 at the close in New York. The stock has gained 2.2 percent this year. Following the announcement, TripAdvisor declined 4.5 percent to $33.52, Yelp dropped 7.7 percent to $23.87, and Expedia Inc. (EXPE:US) fell 1.1 percent to $53.83.
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