The WSJ is reporting that table management software and BookaRestaurant.com company, AS Digital has been purchased by Pricline Group owned OpenTable.
Open Table, which employed CEO Lisa Hasen in January this year, has yet to start operation in Australia which is unusual. Open Table is well experienced with opening in foreign countries, now operating in 19 countries.
Priceline stated in a media release that it hopes that AS Digital will help its push into Australia, Japan and Asia. It is planned that AS Digital will role into the OpenTable brand.
Arthur Apos from Baker & McKenzie advised Priceline, and Daniel Livingston from Mills Oakley advised AS Digital.
We think the delay may have been in relation to negotiations that OpenTable was conducting to purchase Dimmi. Dimmi was the logical option for an Open Table acquisition given their dominant position in the Australian market we believe. Whether it was difficult for them to agree on price or the culture between the two organisation were too far apart is difficult to say. With the market space already fairly crowded, OpenTable may not have relished the prospects of building their business from the ground up and decided to take Respak as a second option. Operating across so many countries may make integration in the Open Table infrastructure more difficult or it could be an advantage if there is spread in countries that OpenTable is not represented.
Respak, which has been traditionally strong with Restaurants in 5 star hotels claims 2,500 restaurants across 40 countries competes with Resdiary, which is based in the UK and licensed in Australia to Dimmi.
We speculate that the offer from Open Table triggered a bidding war for Dimmi with Trip Advisor, which earlier this year was the successful bidder for Dimmi. Dimmi’s business model continues to change as it attempts to wean itself off the revenue from bookings commission that it charges Restaurants. Our customers report per seat fees dropping to $0.70 per seat when booked through the Restaurants website. Dimmi continues to build it’s database by collecting the emails from Restaurant, but is increasing the revenue that it makes for it’s licensing agreement with Resdiary.