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Siris, Elliott to take Travelport private for US$4.4b

[BENGALURU] Travelport Worldwide Ltd said on Monday buyout firms Siris Capital Group and Elliott Management will take it private for US$4.4 billion, marking an end to an eight-month effort by Elliott to buy the travel software company.

Elliott, which has a 12 per cent stake in Travelport, pushed the company to explore a sale earlier this year and had arranged for debt financing for a possible deal.

New York-based Elliott, which has assets of more than US$33 billion, is the biggest hedge fund with a dedicated team chasing buyouts. Elliott partner Jesse Cohn leads the buyout efforts for the company.

The consortium will offer US$15.75 per share, a 2.3 per cent premium to the company's closing price on Friday.

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Travelport shares rose 1.3 per cent to US$15.60 in premarket trading and were trading at around the same level as when it started trading as a public company four years ago.

Blackstone Group LP acquired Travelport along with Technology Crossover Ventures for US$4.3 billion in 2006 and took it public in 2014.

Travelport's headquarters are expected to remain in the UK, and the deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.

The company has remained focused on its stable but relatively slow-growing business of providing technology infrastructure to travel vendors for hotel reservations and package tours.

Travelport generated net revenue of US$622.5 million for the quarter ended Sept 30, up about 2 per cent from a year earlier. Its net income rose 25 per cent to US$5.87 million. It had nearly US$2.3 billion debt, as of the end of September.

Morgan Stanley served as the lead financial adviser to Travelport, while Kirkland & Ellis provided legal counsel.

Siris was advised by LionTree, Deutsche Bank, Macquarie Capital and Barclays.

The two private equity firms have secured committed debt financing for the deal from BofA Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, Macquarie Capital, Credit Suisse and Barclays.