At a time when a travel operator like Expedia Group is shedding brands to become more focused, private equity firm Certares is investing in a broad array of travel assets. Divergent strategies for two very different companies. Certares' goal is likely to wrangle synergies while making a ton of money.
Online Travel This Week
If you are familiar with the online travel rollup track record of Barry Diller at IAC and Expedia or, for history buffs, Henry Silverman at Cendant, then in its broad outlines Certares founder Greg O'Hara's ambitions at his private equity firm may seem familiar, albeit with plenty of twists.
After investing $325 million in Tripadvisor's parent company a year ago, participating in the debut of a $500 million travel-oriented blank-check company in December, and co-sponsoring a pending $4.2 billion reorganization of Hertz earlier this month, Certares on Wednesday agreed to invest about $47.6 million (euro 40 million) in convertible bonds issued by the controlling shareholder of a French travel agency.
The investment, part of a $154.7 million (euro 130 million) fundraising by the Voyageurs du Monde group, which includes a couple of adventure tour operators, gives Certares three non-voting seats on the board and about a 30 percent minority stake in the company. Interestingly, Certares just seeded G Adventures with growth capital, although the tour operator c