Travelport-Worldspan deal faces regulatory scrutiny

The US Department of Justice, the body responsible for ensuring mergers and acquisitions do not create monopolies and violate antitrust laws, has requested more information from Travelport regarding its plans to absorb Worldspan.

Sources close to the deal still expect the merger to go through and are anticipating a completion by end of second quarter to early third quarter 2007.

The DOJ’s action, though not unusual, has sparked another round of speculation regarding the future of the four main GDSs and their respective consumer-facing technology assets.

Behind the scenes Traveport’s long term plans for its online travel agency brands, Ebookers and Orbitz, has also come under scrutiny.

Rumours of an Orbitz spin-off were sparked in late January following a New York Times article, which said Travelport was considering listing Orbitz on either the New York or London Stock Exchange

Sources close to the market in the US have said that Orbitz was “sent to the block last month”, referring to a potential listing on Wall Street.

Travelport, nor any of its subsidiaries, are currently listed on the NYSE and there have been no recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the US trading watchdog.

Sources confirm a spin-off is likely, but no formal action has yet been taken.

Ebookers in the UK declined to comment last week.

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