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Sabre Will Acquire GetThere Inc.

Travel marketing and distribution company Sabre Holdings Corp. will acquire GetThere Inc. in an all-cash deal valued at $757 million. The travel giant also said it will cut 1,200 jobs, or about 11 percent of its employees.

Sabre said it would buy all outstanding shares of GetThere common stock at $17.75 per share. GetThere closed Friday at $12.125, so the deal results in a premium of about $5.60 per share.

The job cuts, Sabre said, are "designed to position the company for increased growth and profitability." Sabre said that the company-wide program supports an effort launched several months ago "to improve efficiencies and flatten the organization," thereby increasing speed and agility.

The jobs will be shed through a combination of attrition and layoffs, and is expected to bring annual savings of $100 million beginning in 2001, the company said. Some published reports indicated Sabre would take a layoff-related charge of about $20 million in the third quarter in conjunction with the downsizing. The company has about 10,500 employees now.

The acquisition will bring together two of the top players in the online business-to- business corporate travel channel and the business-to-consumer e-commerce channel for airlines, travel suppliers and travel agencies.

The plan is to combine GetThere with the Sabre Business Travel Solutions (BTS) unit to create a dominant online travel platform for corporations and suppliers, with leading-edge technologies, innovative services and content and a roster of blue-chip customers, Sabre said.

The new Sabre company will operate under the GetThere name and will be based in Menlo Park, CA, where GetThere is located now. Gadi Maier, current GetThere chairman, president and CEO, will be president of the combined organization.

"Together, we will bring expanded benefits to customers, suppliers and shareholders. Our combined technology and expertise will enable us to offer the broadest range of services and content, and to create enhanced revenue- generating opportunities in a rapidly changing marketplace." said William J. Hannigan, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Sabre.

The acquisition will bring together an extensive list of customers, including Boeing, Chevron, Cisco Systems, Citicorp, Dell, General Electric, Lucent, Nike and Nortel. Airline customers of the joint operation will include United Airlines, America West, US Airways and Swissair, and retailers such as American Express, Cheap Tickets and Travelocity.com.

The combined businesses will have estimated 2000 revenues of approximately $50 million, Sabre said, adding that it expects the deal will be neutral to 2001 earnings.

Earlier this month Sabre acquired Gradient Solutions Ltd, a Dublin, Ireland based technology company that provides e-commerce solutions to the global travel marketplace. In June, the company took a 51 percent stake in Dillon Communications Systems, a supplier of electronic travel distribution in Germany.

Earlier this year the company merged Preview Travel and Travelocity.com.