The big digital news this week was all about Travelport. One of the big three platforms for airline distribution is being taken private in an all-cash transaction valued at around $4.4 billion.
Digital Travel News Weekly Roundup
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>>The long-predicted buyout of public-company Travelport has happened at a premium of about twice the market capitalization of the company. Expect a spinout of the company’s eNett payments division and the proverbial “cost restructuring”: Travelport Is Being Taken Private in $4.4 Billion Deal
>>The early consensus is that Elliott Management put together a disappointing deal for investors. We cover the case for and against the deal here. But expect larger Travelport investors to consider resisting the deal or hope that a white knight acquirer rides in with a better offer: Travelport’s Proposed Buyout Deal May Not End the Drama
>>Expedia has dealt with a ton of distractions in recent years as it acquired Wotif, Travelocity, Orbitz Worldwide, and HomeAway, for example. CEO Mark Okerstrom wants to focus on the basics instead, and doesn’t want to take bold steps into dining reservations or food delivery for now. On the other hand, Expedia is a very acquisitive company so never say never: Expedia Isn’t Ready to Invest Big in Restaurant Reservations
>>Google’s acquisition of Bangalore-based Where is my Train validates the growing importance of rail travel — and the anxiety among competitors of Google’s growing reach into travel: Google Digs Deeper Into India With Where Is My Train Acquisition
>>Uber needs to shed its Saudi Arabia investment as long as Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman remains in power, and the country bombs innocents in Yemen. Uber’s leaders know they have to do this, but how they dump their Saudi investment and the extent of the divorce remain to be seen: Uber CEO Hopes IPO Will Solve Its Saudi Arabia Investor Problem
>>This deal is noteworthy because it represents a recent industry shift in the gravity of airline sales efforts. Work that used to happen on computers that interact mainly with travel agencies is now shifting toward computers that mainly power an airline’s brand.com site and other direct sales channels: Amadeus and Points.com Partner to Scale Loyalty Tech for Airlines
>>This year Lufthansa made a series of small moves that, when looked at together, reveal a doubling down on its multi-front strategy to pressure Amadeus, Travelport, and especially Sabre to conform more to its preferred airline distribution practices. Connect the dots, and it looks like a low-grade war: Lufthansa Ratchets Up Pressure on Sabre Over Distribution
>>As a Dataminr executive told us, “There is no such thing as a secret now.” If it happens on an airplane and someone puts it on social media, it is bound to become news. That’s just how it goes now, for better or worse: How Artificial Intelligence Determines Which Airline Stories Go Viral
>>It should come as no surprise that the government isn’t following its own rules when it comes to securing the traveler data it seizes from personal devices. Another reminder to take precautions, even if your chance of getting searched is rather low: U.S. Customs Isn’t Protecting Traveler Data After Electronic Searches
>>It’s a matter of probability that some companies will face cash crunches. It appears HotelQuickly has. But global travel search companies need to detect problems sooner. They must quickly put a pause on referring consumers to troubled companies before too many victims pile up: HotelQuickly Disaster Raises Questions on How Travel Search Giants Vet Advertisers
>>Grab will hire an additional 1,000 tech employees in 2019, after doubling the number of software engineers, data scientists, and analysts it added this year to 2,000. A look at its next R&D hiring plan gives a few hints about what it is working on: Grab Is Hiring Tech Talent to Become Southeast Asia’s First Super App
>>This week, travel startups announced more than $114 million in funding, including WhyHotel, Oyo, Noken, and Wow Venue: Noken Raises $2.5 Million for Trip Planning: Travel Startup Funding This Week
>>Salaries for travel buyers were relatively flat this year, although less experienced buyers saw a nice uptick in their annual bonuses: Bonuses for Corporate Travel Specialists Increased in 2018
>>Travel buyers are seeing juicy increases to their annual bonuses, particularly those who are relatively early on in their careers: Corporate Travel Specialists See Pay Hikes
>>Skift publishes our annual Megatrends Magazine each January. It’s released through a series of intimate and highly engaging events where Skift editors present themes to our readers and discuss them in live Q&As held in locations in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. RSVP today to claim your spot! RSVP Now for Skift Megatrends Launch Events Around The World
Photo credit: Travelport is being taken private in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $4.4 billion that follows a process that began at the start of the year by New York activist investor Elliott Management. Travelport