Weekly Digest - July 4th, 2011
Opodo Acquisition Finalized
AXA Private Equity (a unit of French insurance company AXA SA) and Permira Funds had finalized their EUR450 M acquisition of Amadeus-owned Opodo, AXA reported in a statement on Friday. The announcement concluded a much-anticipated travel sector move for the PE players, which however attracted serious supervisory scrutiny in Europe.
Now, with the acquisition finally completed, more details about the future plans for the OTA became available to the public. It was widely known that AXA and Permira intended to take a serious swing at the travel market, and Friday's announcement confirmed the funds' ambition to challenge the currently dominating Pan-European OTAs - Expedia and Lastminute.com. AXA's press release announced the merger of GoVoyages and eDreams (other companies in the funds' portfolios) with Opodo, forming a single corporate entity and one of the biggest OTAs in the region.
With that it was announced that eDreams co-founder Javier Perez-Tenessa would become the group CEO, and GoVoyages co-founder Mauricio Prieto would step-in as his deputy CEO. Current Opodo CEO Ignacio Martos has announced his plans to leave the newly-formed company.
The individual brands are positioned well and diversely across Europe. Opodo is a major market player in the UK, France, Germany and Scandinavia, while eDreams is popular in Spain, Italy and Portugal, and GoVoyages - in France. AXA praised 30% growth rates for the agencies in the recent downturn and boasted with record sales in 2010.
Tiger Australia Operations Grounded Temporarily
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority ordered Tiger to stop Australian domestic flights for a week, starting July 2. The Singapore-based LCC, partially owned by Singapore Airlines, is being investigated for 2 operational incidents, after failing to persuade CASA in its ability to "satisfactorily address the safety issues that have been identified." The grounding will affect 35,000 passengers and is estimated to cost the airline close to $1.5 M every week.
Tiger Airways commenced Australian domestic flights in November 2007 and has hubs in Melbourne and Adelaide. The airline is the third largest domestic operator, with a fleet of 10 Airbus A320. The second largest is Virgin Australia with 86 planes, topped by Qantas and its budget carrier Jetstar, with 252 planes.
Moneydirect Shuts Down
Amadeus- and Sabre-owned payment processing provider Moneydirect will be shutting down, the wholesaler announced. While reportedly profitable in Australia and New Zealand, the company failed to gain global traction and has started diverting its customers to eNett International, a joint venture between Travelport and PSP International and Moneydirect's main competitor.