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The Travel Deals That Have Fallen Victim to the Pandemic

It’s a headline writer’s dilemma: Two companies announce they’ve agreed to merge, leading many to believe it’s a done deal, except for the final signatures.

But as we’ve seen in the last few months, the impact coronavirus on the economy, earnings, and employment has turned businesses upside down, turning the deals and headlines to dust.

Several travel companies have been haggling for better deal terms or pulled the plug on agreed-upon acquisitions and investments. They argue that the coronavirus pandemic has undermined the rationales for the deals. So the crisis has thrown billions of dollars worth of transactions into upheaval.

Skift has rounded up some of the major travel deals that never closed.

Yatra-Ebix

Yatra, a travel agency with a big corporate travel business in India, announced in July it would sell itself to Ebix, a U.S. technology firm. The deal had valued Yatra at $337.8 million. But Ebix later haggled over terms and that prompted Yatra to back out this month.

Wex-Travelport’s eNett and Optal

There could be tons of acrimony tied to Wex’s effort to walk away from a $1.7 billion deal to buy two payment technology vendors, eNett and Optal, from Travelport. Travelport had a deal in January to sell the units to payments company Wex. But Wex refused to close on the deal in May after the pandemic devastated the travel sector that eNett and Optal serve.

Travelport is suing Wex to get it to pay. It’s arguing that the contract named a pandemic as a problem that Wex couldn’t use as an escape clause. Wex is countering that eNett is suffering much more than other peer payments technology companies, and that allegedly should count as a “material adverse effect” that should gut the deal.

Elliott Management, a private equity owner of Travelport renowned for its aggressive tactics, could help make the battle fierce.

Sabre-Farelogix

Another travel technology company, Sabre, also ran into pandemic-related headwinds with a planned merger.  The UK Competition and Markets Authority blocked Sabre’s proposed $360 m

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