Sabre wins court fight with U.S. Justice Dept over Farelogix acquisition

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. judge has ruled that travel technology firm Sabre Corp may purchase software firm Farelogix Inc, after the Justice Department sued to stop the planned $360 million acquisition.

Judge Leonard Stark of the U.S. District Court in Delaware said in a brief order on Tuesday that he had ruled for the defendant, which is to say the companies. The opinion was sealed.

Sabre said in a statement it welcomed the decision and was waiting to hear from a British antitrust enforcer this week.

“This federal court ruling supports our view that the Sabre-Farelogix acquisition is not anti-competitive. We appreciate the consideration the court gave to these important issues,” said Kristin Hays, a spokeswoman for Sabre.

The Justice Department said it would review the decision and consider its next steps, while reiterating concerns that the deal would lead to higher prices and less innovation.

“While we are disappointed with the court’s decision, we appreciate the court’s thoughtful consideration of this important case,” said Makan Delrahim, who heads the department’s Antitrust Division.

The Justice Department is considering an appeal, according to a person familiar with the department’s thinking.

In its lawsuit filed in August 2019, the government said that Sabre, the dominant provider of booking services in the United States with more than 50% of airline bookings through travel agencies, “operated outdated technology and resisted innovation” while competitor Farelogix is “an innovative technology company that has stepped in to address the needs of airlines and their customers.”

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Sonya Hepinstall