Travelport has agreed to sell its GTA global ground content wholesaler GTA to Kuoni for $720 million.
The deal, expected to be completed by May, will help Galileo and Worldspan owner Travelport reduce its debt of $2,761 million. “The agreed sale is in line with Travelport’s strategic plan to focus on maximising the potential of its core business,” the company said.
The deal is conditional on the majority approval by Travelport’s bank lenders and a vote by the shareholders of Kuoni in favour of a capital increase to finance the transaction. The Kuoni and Hugentobler-Foundation, which represents 25% of the voting rights of Kuoni, has “irrevocably committed to support of the capital increase”, a statement said.
Kuoni Group chief executive Peter Rothwell said: “In acquiring GTA, Kuoni is investing in one of the fastest-growing business segments within the tourism industry.
“This acquisition, together with our own proven, growing and successful online destination management activities of Kuoni Connect, will transform us into one of the leading global providers of online destination management services.
“In line with our asset-light strategy, the combination of GTA and Kuoni will create a better balanced group, providing additional strength in the growing area of business-to-business online services and enlarging Kuoni’s Destination Management leisure group business. GTA has a skilled and valuable workforce that will be invaluable as the business continues to develop.”
GTA president and chief executive Ken Esterow will be replaced by Rolf Schafroth, executive vice-president destinations at Kuoni. Travelport will report earnings for the year ended December 31, 2010 on March 30, when it expects to report adjusted EBITDA of $545 million on net revenue of $1,996 million, excluding GTA.
GTA’s total transaction value last year was $1.887 million, net revenue was $294 million and adjusted EBITDA was $84 million.
The company markets and distributes global travel content, including more than 35,000 hotels in more than 130 countries. Other services include sightseeing tours and attractions, private transfers, group travel and rail passes. GTA distributes through travel wholesalers, tour operators, travel agencies as well as direct.
Travelport president and chief executive Jeff Clarke said: “Our strategy is to focus our energies on maximising the potential of our core proposition and, while GTA is a leader in its field with a strong proposition, this is a positive opportunity for us to accelerate our plans.
“Additionally, Kuoni is a well known and long-term customer of Travelport and our aim will be to work in partnership with them to improve further the distribution and sale of the combined Kuoni/GTA inventory across the Travelport subscriber network.
“Subject to receiving approval from both our lenders and the shareholders of Kuoni, we will apply the net proceeds from this transaction to pay down our bank borrowings.”