The old boys network is still as strong as it gets in online travel and elsewhere. It appears in several ways, although it was far from being a decisive factor, in the current agreement with Vacasa SPAC. But those decades-old ties certainly didn’t hurt either.
Travel online this week
By tracing the links between Hot wire alum crossing the wait Vacasa PSPC deal, I figured I would pay to try the game if some software geek took a database of old and current executives and created the online travel version of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.
As a backdrop, some of the things you need to know to understand where this is going is that in 1999 Texas Pacific Group partner and now TPG rhythm President Karl Peterson took a $ 75 million investment from the Texas Pacific Group and major airlines, and founded Hotwire, a discount travel site, to compete Priceline.com.
Some 22 years later, in April 2021, Peterson, a senior partner at private equity firm TPG and chairman of the board of the new special-purpose acquisition company TPG Pace, made Joe Osnoss’ first approach. , managing partner of the investor Vacasa. Silver Lake, on the possibility of merging with the property management company and of going public, according to a financial file.
The Venn diagram of relationships that emerges from these disclosures highlights the power of relationship building in online travel over the years and its mutual benefits.
Peterson knew a lot about Vacasa, in part because he invested in Turnkey, a rival property management company that Vacasa acquired for $ 619 million in April. TurnKey was co-founded in 2012 by TJ Clark and John Banczak, who worked with Peterson at Hotwire as general counsel and director of airline, automotive and global distribution systems, respectively.
In another twist, it’s also worth pointing out that while Banczak was working on global distribution system issues at Hotwire a few decades ago, Peterson led one, Saber, where he is currently chairman of the board.
Due to his personal investment in TurnKey, Peterson now owns 0.222% of the shares of Vacasa and therefore did not vote on the impending merger of Vacasa and its TPG Pace SPAC.
In other overlapping links, in 2003, Peterson sold Hotwire for $ 685 million to Barry Diller’s IAC, who owned Expedia and transformed it into a public company in 2005. Carl Shepherd, co-founder of Far from home, which Expedia acquired for $ 3.9 billion in 2015, was a board member of TurnKey before Vacasa bought it.
The co-founder of TurnKey Banczak, a Hotwire alumnus, worked with Shepherd at HomeAway as managing director.
Gregg Brockway, a Hotwire co-founder who worked as a product manager under Peterson and alongside Clark and Banczak, also served on the board of TurnKey.
To complement some of the Hotwire connections to the impending Vacasa SPAC deal, the former Tripadvisor Marketing Director Barbara Messing, who served as Hotwire’s vice president for four years in its early years, was recently appointed to the Vacasa board of directors.
This web of intertwined career links – and there are many more that could be highlighted – doesn’t mean TPG Pace is merging with Vacasa / TurnKey because directors were sharing the water cooler gossip at Hotwire. or TurnKey. TPG Pace, according to a financial file, looked at five other potential companies for its SPAC merger ambitions and chose Vacasa because this is where the benefit was considered most important.
But the network of old boys in travel is still an ongoing reality. These deep personal connections certainly didn’t hurt.
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