Case | HBS Case Collection | April 2010 (Revised March 2011)

The Auction for Travelport (A)

by Andrei Hagiu and Misha Sanwal

Abstract

A senior Blackstone director is deciding how aggressively to bid for Travelport, a travel distribution business containing several key services and platforms. Travelport's most important properties were Galileo, one of the top 3 global distribution systems (GDSs), CheapTickets and Orbitz, two online travel agencies. Blackstone was competing in an auction against several other large private equity firms with multi•billion dollar investment funds. The auction was about to enter its final round of bidding, with bids having reached $4 billion in the prior round. The Blackstone director (Schorr) and his team have to make three key judgments regarding Travelport. First, they need to develop a point of view on the structural attractiveness of the travel GDS industry. Secondly, they need to decide whether Travelport was a good business to own and identify the key sources of its value. The Travelport business is composed of many different sub•businesses that play in different parts of the travel value chain and some of these sub•businesses are more strategic than others. Thirdly, like most leveraged buyouts, Travelport will need to support a significant amount of debt as a result of the transaction. Chip and his team need to make a judgment on the stability of Travelport's businesses and its ability to generate consistent, predictable cash flows to service its debt obligations.

Keywords: Value Creation; Product Positioning; Cost vs Benefits; Private Equity; Leveraged Buyouts; Competitive Advantage; Auctions; Industry Structures; Travel Industry;

Citation:

Hagiu, Andrei, and Misha Sanwal. "The Auction for Travelport (A)." Harvard Business School Case 710-474, April 2010. (Revised March 2011.)