Sabre acquires Trust International for $154 million

Sabre is to buy the Trust Group for $154 million, a deal that will include mothership Trust International, InnLink and Nexus.

Trust International is the well-known reservation system provider for hotel chains, with InnLink running similar services for independent hotels, and RFP and sales technology coming via Nexus.

The deal ends two and a half years for the Trust Group under the ownership of venture capital giant Battery Ventures, which took over running of the company in June 2013 from Kings Park Capital.

Sabre says the deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016, will allow it to “provide a comprehensive SaaS platform” to hoteliers, whilst extending its existing position as a central reservation system provider.

As a combined entity, Sabre claims the pair will serve “serve significantly more hotels than any other central reservations technology provider”.

Sabre president and CEO Tom Klein previously talked in June this year about further software company acquisitions, with any such deals expected to come in at the $10 million to $130 million range.

On the Trust deal, he says:

“Acquiring the Trust Group is consistent with our stated goal of building on Sabre Hospitality Solutions’ global leadership position, and this combination will enable us to grow faster.

“The Trust Group is one of the industry’s most respected brands, and our customers will benefit from our combined expertise and focus on innovation.”

The acquisition is likely to add some $40 million a year in incremental revenue to Sabre during 2016.

Trust CEO Richard Wiegmann adds:

“This combination will help accelerate our customers’ growth through a broader set of hospitality solutions and services that will better serve the evolving needs of hotels and their guests.”

InnLink and its sister tech provider TravelLynx are only a relatively new parts of the Trust portfolio, having being bought for an undisclosed fee in April 2014.

The deal brings Sabre’s acquisition spree so far in 2015 to around $565 million, having bought out the remaining shares in Asia-Pacific distribution service Abacus for $411 million in May.

Hospitality tech and distribution are clearly seen as a significant playgrounds to dabble for the traditional global distribution systems, with Sabre buying reservation platform and revenue management tech provider Genares in September 2014.

Travelport purchased hospitality distribution provider Hotelzon for $10 million in June 2014.

Both Sabre and Travelport’s investments in other companies are still dwarfed by the $500 million paid by Amadeus to acquire Newmarket International, the hospitality IT company, in December 2013.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.

 

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  1. jason

    Consolidation in our industry is like a flu pandemic – OTAs buying OTAs, hotel brands buying hotel brands, and CRS providers buying their ilk. We know Battery Ventures enough to understand how and why they have become an attractive acquisition. They pumped in money to improve the Trust technology and grow market share particularly in North America. Hence Trust’s purchase of InnLink in the U.S. and Sabre purchased Genares around the same time period. However, InnLink was a far better play because beyond its solid customer base is the underlying technology, far better and more modern. Genares technology was sunset soon after the Sabre acquisition.

    The coup de grâce of today’s announcement is Sabre’s advancement in Europe. The Synxis IBE/CRS was growing in the single property arena and small collections but not to the scale and speed that Trust has from its legacy relationships. In Europe, Sabre was mostly sales now it is coupled with product and services. Trust is concentrated in Europe and has a marquee client base of independents and small and large collections/chains. Now it’s all Sabres and combined reportedly over 30,000 hotels.

    For InnLink clients it’ll be business as usual. The underlying technology is solid with unique features and functionalities and will probably be the CRS of choice for a niche hotel class of a certain size and type or region while Synxis/Trust will be for a chains and groups of a different product size and class. The obvious conclusion is for Sabre to move toward one CRS platform to serve all. I am not convinced. While I can’t recall a parallel in another industry where two technologies in one company co-exist but this may be exactly what takes place: North and South America will be Synxis and Europe and APAC will be Trust, separate GDS codes, separate but equal, etc. InnLink for the niche hotels. We shall see.

    As for CRS fees: Generally speaking, the CRS (and the web reservation providers) is a commoditized business. You need it, many are in the game, they all do generally the same thing and few differentiate other than on cost. So it’s a transactional business; it is easy to understand and easy to measure for an acquisition. However, the business comes with significant downward market pressures on the transaction fees. Being in this space for nearly 20 years and building an award-winning online booking engine/CRS (2001 Microsoft RAD Award winners) we saw this happening back in 2001. Over the years the industry went from a percent of total booking to a flat transaction fee to a per room per month pricing. Not very lucrative and just a volume play for the bigger guys. We have seen the direct web cost of sale drop considerably so hotels benefited.

    In sum, business as usual.

     
    • Kevin Trill

      Jason, interesting commments.

      So after reading all of this was left with the question about Travelport’s purchase of Hotelzon for $10m, was this good value comapred to Sabre’s purchase of Trust for $154 or are we looking at apples and pears and the the comparision is simply Trust and Hotelzon are in hotels?

       
 
 

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