While the Qantas saga rolls on, David Bonderman’s Texas Pacific Group has been busy elsewhere, displaying its ongoing interest in the travel sector by overnight winning an agreed US$4.4 billion purchase of airline and travel agent reservations company, Sabre.

Bloomberg has the details and interesting details they are. Sabre, the original real-time reservations system, has been falling out of favour with Wall Street as more airlines and hotels encourage punters to book direct, cutting out travel agents’ commission. Just ask Flight Centre about what Qantas is trying to do to it and every other travel agency.

But Sabre also has the www.travelocity.com operation, offering another channel into the travel dollars. TPG isn’t buying Sabre to keep it just the way it is… which could have folks wondering about what synergy could be generated by having the world’s main reservation system and your own airline.

This move, plus the bid for the profitable Qantas, also builds a case for TPG betting that the world will remain a rich and happy place in the years ahead with a rising future for travel in all its forms. You don’t buy Qantas and Sabre if you think there’s any real threat to global growth in the next three to five years.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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