WASHINGTON / Oct. 30, 2000—Thayer Capital Partners, a leading Washington, D.C-based private equity firm and controlling shareholder of Vacation.com, announced today the sale of Vacation.com for total consideration of approximately $90 million to Madrid-based Amadeus.
Vacation.com is the world’s largest Internet-enabled network of independent leisure travel agencies with over 8,400 members, responsible for travel sales over $20 billion annually.
Chris Temple, a managing director at Thayer Capital hailed the sale as a win for both the buyer and seller. ``We are extremely pleased with the sale of Vacation.com at an attractive valuation for Thayer Capital and its management shareholders. We believe our capital and strategic guidance to Vacation.com have helped generate an outstanding return on investment for our management and minority shareholders,’’ said Mr. Temple.
Backed by an experienced management team, Vacation.com agencies account for nearly one-third of US travel agencies and will play a key role in Amadeus’ growth strategy in the travel industry. ``We are delighted to announce that Amadeus will be our new partner. Amadeus’ commitment to technology, international travel distribution and additional capital will further our growth and technology development while ensuring that Vacation.com maintains a leadership position in the marketplace,’’ said Larry Kahn, Vacation.com’s chief financial officer.
Led by former President of Marriott Hotels and Resorts and former President of Northwest Airlines Fred Malek, Thayer Capital provided the initial capital to create the Washington, D.C.-based Vacation.com in 1998. ``Vacation.com has a unique business model of combining the fun and convenience of researching vacations using the vast resources available on the Internet while harnessing the convenience, expertise and personal attention of a live expert travel agent,’’ said Mr. Malek.
As a result of the sale, Thayer Capital Partners will obtain a warrant position in Amadeus but will otherwise end its two-year-old investment in the ``click and mortar’’ travel agency.
Amadeus, which is acquiring the Company for cash, warrants and the assumption of nearly $30 million in debt, is the leading global distribution system and technology provider, serving the marketing, sales and distribution needs of the world’s travel and tourism industries. Amadeus delivers the booking engine behind more than 3,800 web sites and its data network and database are amongst the largest of their kind in Europe. Competitors include U.S. firms like Sabre, Galileo, and Worldspan that have seen the Internet and on-line travel agencies like Expedia and Travelocity dramatically change travel distribution.