Expedia agreed to buy Orbitz in February in an all-cash deal for $12 per share.

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CHICAGO — Orbitz Worldwide was officially bought by former rival Expedia on Thursday, a day after federal regulators dropped an objection to the $1.6 billion merger.

The combination marks a major development in the ongoing consolidation of the online travel industry with Expedia, the No. 1 player based in Bellevue, buying Chicago-based Orbitz, which was No. 3 in market share but had struggled to gain ground with its overreliance on flight bookings instead of more lucrative hotel bookings.

In announcing the deal in February, Expedia executives said the Orbitz acquisition should provide about $75 million annually in “synergies” but provided no detail on what the effect would be on Orbitz headquarters.

Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said at the time that Orbitz personnel, 800 of whom work at the Chicago headquarters, were an important part of the deal.

“We do think we’re going to have a nice big base in Chicago, and hopefully grow it over the long term, along with some efficiencies that we’re going to bring to bear,” he said then.

Mass layoffs are probably not in the plans, analysts suspect, but duplicate corporate functions, such as marketing and finance, are likely to see cuts.

The Justice Department said Wednesday it would not challenge the merger, contending the deal is unlikely to hurt competitors or consumers. The agency says it found no evidence that Expedia is likely to charge new fees and says the deal should not affect the commissions Expedia charges. It noted that Expedia will still have to compete with The Priceline Group and others. The agency also says the online travel business is changing rapidly.

Expedia agreed to buy Orbitz in February in an all-cash deal for $12 per share.

Before the deal, Orbitz owned Orbitz.com, CheapTickets, HotelClub and e-bookers. Expedia owns Hotels.com and Hotwire, among others.

Expedia also acquired Travelocity earlier this year.

The only other big online travel booking company is Priceline, which owns sites including Priceline, Booking.com, Kayak and OpenTable. However, there are many smaller players.