Sabre Plans Acquisition Within Travel Network Division

by Michele McDonald

While Sabre Corp. has been busy shedding its online travel businesses, it also has been looking to make a new acquisition.

Sabre told the Securities and Exchange Commission that it is “possible” that it will reach an agreement for a proposed purchase during this quarter.

Sabre said the acquisition, which would close in the second quarter, would be made within its Sabre Travel Network division, which includes the Sabre GDS, the GetThere corporate booking tool and other businesses.

It said the purchase would require approximately $500 million in funds, including advisory and financing costs. Sabre expects to meet these funding needs through some combination of cash on hand, revolver draw and debt financing.

Had Sabre owned the company in 2014, its revenue for the year would have increased by about $250 million, it said.

A positive impact expected
Sabre doesn’t expect the acquisition to add to 2015 adjusted earnings per share, but it does expect a “positive impact” in 2016.

Sabre added the customary disclaimer that it “makes no assurances that this acquisition will occur on the terms described herein or at all.”

Last week, Sabre disclosed that it had sold Travelocity outright to Expedia, its erstwhile archrival. Travelocity had been operating as an Expedia affiliate, with Expedia providing technology and inventory while Travelocity focused on marketing.

Last month, it reached an agreement to sell Lastminute.com to Bravofly Rumbo Group, a European online travel company.

A strong Q4 for Sabre
In its filing, Sabre also gave the SEC a preview of its fourth-quarter earnings.

Total revenue is expected to be between $639 million and $654 million, an increase of between $12 million and $27 million, or 1.9% and 4.3%.

Fourth-quarter revenue in Airline and Hospitality Solutions is expected to be between $213 million and $218 million, an increase of between $24 million and $29 million, or 12.7% and 15.4%.

Fourth-quarter revenue in Sabre Travel Network is expected to be between $429 million and $439 million, a decrease of between $11 million and $1 million, or 2.5% and 0.2%.

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