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Amadeus has offloaded its Opodo online agency to two private equity funds in a €500m deal that marks continued consolidation in the sector.
AXA Private Equity and Permira Funds have acquired 100 per cent of Opodo for €450m plus the transfer of Opodo’s cash reserves, estimated at €50m. Permira already owns the tour operator and over-50s services provider Saga, plus Barcelona-based eDreams, an online leisure travel provider; while AXA has a majority stake in France’s GoVoyages.
Madrid-based Amadeus said the deal, which has still to be approved by European competition authorities, represented a multiple of 11.7 times Opodo’s 2010 pre-tax earnings. A spokesman said the sale would permit Amadeus to concentrate on its core technology business.
Opodo was set up in 2001 in Germany with the backing of nine airlines, including British Airways, Iberia and Lufthansa. Amadeus took a 56 per cent stake in 2004 and gradually increased this, acquiring 100 per cent in 2009.
Opodo, which operates in nine markets with content from 500 airlines and 6,500 hotels, claims to have processed more than 670 million transactions in 2009. The deal includes a contract for Amadeus to provide global distribution system services to all three brands for 10 years.
GoVoyages was acquired by AXA a year ago, while Permira invested in eDreams in July. A Permira spokeswoman said it could not elaborate on future plans until regulators had approved the latest deal. However, she confirmed that all three brands would remain under their own names.