Google (GOOG) is close to reaching a deal with the Justice Department that would allow the world’s No. 1 Internet search engine to buy airline ticketing software company ITA, according to Reuters, which cited a source close to the deal.
Under the deal, which may be announced within days, Google would have to continue to make ITA’s software available to its competitors, said the source, which added that Google and the government are still debating over how Google would treat its competitors in search results. If the two sides fail to reach an agreement, the argument would be resolved in court.
Google said last July that it would buy ITA, a maker of travel programs used by companies including Orbitz Worldwide Inc. and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), for $700 million in cash. The news sparked negative reactions in the tech world that travel websites such as Kayak and TripAdvisor would be deprived of ITA’s software.
Google, based in Mountain View, California, gained $4.24 to $578.42 at 2:46 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading.