Expedia Partners With French Rail Group

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Expedia Inc. will launch a joint venture with SNCF, a French state-owned railways group, to market flights, hotel rooms, rail tickets and car rentals to French consumers at SNCF's Web site, voyages-sncf.com.

The site reaches 10.2 percent of the population in France and offers online booking of rail excursions. Under the partnership with Expedia announced yesterday, the site will add travel options such as air and automobile rental as well as hotel bookings.

Expedia said it would build on its travel sites for the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada. The deal will establish Expedia's presence in the French travel market, the company said.

SNCF will own 53 percent of the joint venture, which should be operational by the end of the year. Further details of the agreement were not disclosed.

USA Networks announced plans to buy a controlling interest in Expedia in July. Expedia expects those plans to be carried out by year's end.


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