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Silver Lake Partners, Texas Pacific said to bid for Sabre

December 12, 2006|From Reuters

NEW YORK — Multiple firms including Silver Lake Partners and Texas Pacific Group have bid for Sabre Holdings Corp., owner of website Travelocity, a person familiar with the situation said Monday.

Shares in Sabre, which has a market capitalization of about $4 billion, rose after the New York Times first reported a deal could take place for more than the company's market capitalization.

A Sabre spokesman declined to comment. A spokesman for Texas Pacific declined to comment. A Silver Lake spokesman was not immediately available.

Bids for the company were due at the end of last week with private equity firms seen as the most interested, the person said.

Two investor groups are vying for Southlake, Texas-based Sabre and a third is considering a bid, according to the Times. One group includes Texas Pacific and Silver Lake, the person said.

A successful bid would mean that two of the top four online travel agencies would be private.

This year, an affiliate of Blackstone Group bought Travelport, operator of travel site Orbitz.

The chief executives of online travel agencies Expedia Inc. and Priceline each predicted last month that travel sites would attract more private equity.

Sabre had a market capitalization of about $3.7 billion based on Friday's closing share price of $28.32, before the report was published.

In addition to operating Travelocity, Sabre also provides reservation systems for travel agents and has recently concluded a series of multiyear deals with major U.S. airlines.

Sabre shares rose $2.11 to $30.43.

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