Northstar Travel Media Apparently for Sale


According to media reports, Northstar Travel Media is for sale. Boston Ventures, a private equity fund, acquired the travel information company from Reed Elsevier in 2001.

Among the company's offerings are directory/database products, including hotelandtravelindex.com (which provides hotel information to a customer base of travel agents and corporate travel planners) and omfg.com (Official Meeting Facilities Guide). OMFG, which provides property information for meeting planners, contains information on more than 42,000 facilities and 12,000 cities across the globe. Northstar also owns Star Service Online, which offers information and commentary on about 9,000 hotels worldwide.

Northstar's properties are certainly valuable to their customers. But the question is how valuable they are to prospective buyers. In such uncertain economic times, companies who may typically have been interested in making acquisitions are likely reconsidering such strategies. In addition, the travel industry is going to be among the hardest hit in a slow economic environment. Travel budgets (both personal and corporate) will undoubtedly be cut or reduced, diminishing the need for travel-related services.

It's not the best time for Boston Ventures to try to remove Northstar from its portfolio. Reasons for them doing so are unclear. It could be a while before any interested acquirers identify themselves.

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