Priceline, known as much for its William Shatner-starring commercials as its low-priced travel deals, announced it bought Kayak for $1.8 billion (£1.12 billion, AUD$1.72 billion) Thursday.

The deal is a cash and stock transaction that, according to Bloomberg, will help Priceline expand its web-based travel services.

Kayak went public in July, raising $91 million (£56, AUD$87) in its initial public offering. The site's thrust is that customers can compare prices and secure reservations for hotels, flights, car rentals and vacations all in one location.

For its part, Priceline is in an acquisition mood as it looks to weather an economy where travel doesn't rank as high as say, bill payment.

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Gobbling up the competition is also clearly motivation for Priceline's purchase as the company has reportedly done well in the travel-on-the-cheap space.

Through the buyout - which sees Kayak picking up about $500 million (£312 million, AUD$480 million) in cash and $1.3 billion (£813 million, AUD$1.24 billion) in equity and assumed stock options - Kayak will remain an independent entity with a brand all its own.

Although Priceline has made a name for itself through campy commercials (Priceline Negotiator, anyone?) for now it seems unlikely that Kayak will assume an entirely new identity.

The deal is expected to close in the early part of 2013.

Via Bloomberg