Going to the Mattresses with Airline Reservation Systems

With news tonight that Silver Lake and Texas Pacific Group have teamed up to purchase Sabre, that means all three major airline reservation networks — Sabre, Travelport, and Worldspan — are owned by private equity firms. We have, in other words, an entire market category owned by private equity, which is fairly remarkable.

I can’t think of another category where this has been the case. Yellow pages, or maybe mattresses? I don’t think either made it to across-the-board private equity ownership.

More broadly, while I can see the argument in the case of yellow pages and reservation systems — annuity income — I’ve always been more puzzled by the private equity fascination with Sealy, et al. What is it that makes PE guys keep going to the mattresses?

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  1. >> What is it that makes PE guys keep going to the mattresses?