A few hours after confirmation of MoneyDirect's closure, Travelport announces it has entered into a "strategic relationship" with the Amadeus/Sabre-owned payment business.
MoneyDirect will be recommending the Travelport-owned eNett system to its Australian and New Zealand customers. The transition is expected to complete by the end of September 2011.
eNett has agreed to honour the MoneyDirect payment fee structure for the first 12 months.
No word as yet on customers outside of that particular region.
MoneyDirect, a joint venture by Amadeus and Sabre to handle multi-channel payments across the travel and tourism industry, is to be axed.
Sabre confirmed the decision this morning after a number of the company's customers were notified over the weekend that the organisation would be closed.
MoneyDirect has around 8.500 customers (although most recent press release says 10,000) around the world and claims to process more than $3 billion in travel payments on an annual basis.
Closing the company will allow both Amadeus and Sabre to focus on their core GDS and travel technology businesses, MoneyDirect says in a statement this morning.
All MoneyDirect staff are to be reassigned to new positions in the two GDSs, a Sabre official says.
The demise of the business will certainly give rival Travelport's own payment business eNett fewer sleepless nights, but the speed in which the news has emerged is likely to cause some anxiety in the marketplace as customers look to quickly make new arrangements for payment processing.
Some suppliers are apparently being told to switch to eNett as the MoneyDirect business wounds down.
MoneyDirect CEO Agustin Diaz-Sanchez says in a statement:
"It is prudent for companies to regularly evaluate and evolve their business strategies to meet new needs in the market. As a result, Sabre and Amadeus will be closing Moneydirect to focus on growing their core business.
"The decision was taken after carefully considering the customer impact, and the priority is now on identifying alternative solutions for its customers and facilitating a seamless transition."
The closure of MoneyDirect ends a disappointing four years for the Sabre-Amadeus joint venture.
The pair created the business in 2007, although the foundations of the company were born in 1991 as a payment platform for Jetset, one of Asia-Pacific's large tour operators.
The company had big ambitions, with a plan to expand the business out of its original Asia-Pacific (Australia and New Zealand, specifically) base to Europe and North America.
The joint venture was officially extended to the UK, US and France in 2008, with Canada, Italy and Germany following in 2009.
After a string of new business wins in 2008, MoneyDirect was being touted as the "industry standard for payments" in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry, endorsed by many because two of the three major travel technology players were behind the company.
Spread over nine countries, customers were located across all regions of the world, but a large proportion was still concentrated in Australia and New Zealand.
In reality the business never managed to achieve its lofty goal of becoming a neutral, multi-channel and cross-region system, not least because Travelport declined to join and created the eNett platform.