Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Rumour mill has a new spring in its step

With so much speculation doing the rounds recently about the fate of some leading online travel brands, especially concerning Travelport and its portfolio of brands, we thought it might be worthwhile listing them all:

1) Travelport’s OTA brands, Orbitz and Ebookers, will seek an IPO on either the New York or London Stock Exchanges.

2) In lieu of an IPO, Orbitz and/or Ebookers will be snapped by potential suitors Expedia Inc, Priceline, or Sabre Holdings.

3) Sabre Holdings, which has received European Commission approval to be acquired by US-based private equity firms Silver Lake Partners and Texas Pacific Group (TPG), will itself be spun-off, possibly to Amadeus (though that alliance might have a tough time getting regulatory approval).

(TPG separately owns a stake in G2SwitchWorks, which was created by a former Orbitz executive to rival the traditional GDS systems, and has co-invested in non-travel related projects with private equity firm The Blackstone Group, which has a stake in Travelport.)

4) Silver Lake Partners and TPG will keep Travelocity as their core asset and build up a complementary portfolio by acquiring other consumer-facing travel brands…possibly Expedia.

5) Google will buy everything - end of story.

But seriously, since all four GDSs and their respective subsidiaries are already loosely affiliated through mutual stakeholders, a re-shuffling of assets as enumerated above is not inconceivable.

The big question is just how much shuffling can the market and regulators bear?

Tricia Holly Davis, chief writer, Travolution

1 comment:

Joe Buhler said...

Spring is in the air, so let's do the shuffle....!
It will be interesting to follow these rumors and find out which ones will pan out. One thing is certain, there will be more change to come in this space.