Travelport Said Planning to File for IPO as Soon as This Week

Travelport Ltd., the travel-booking platform bought by Blackstone Group LP eight years ago, plans to file for a U.S. initial public offering as soon as this week, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Morgan Stanley and UBS AG are managing the IPO, in which the company may seek to raise about $500 million, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private. Atlanta-based Travelport posted $2.1 billion in sales last year, greater than the $1 billion threshold to file confidentially under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act.

The offering would be Travelport’s second attempt to go public in four years. The company -- used by travel agents to book flights, hotels and rental cars for consumers -- said in 2010 that it planned to raise almost $1.8 billion in a London IPO. Travelport later canceled the share sale due to volatility caused by the sovereign debt crisis in Europe. Blackstone bought Travelport in 2006 for $4.3 billion.

Travelport’s lenders agreed to swap their bonds for equity earlier this year, raising speculation that the company was getting ready for an IPO. Travelport negotiated a private exchange agreement with Morgan Stanley, AllianceBernstein Holding LP and P. Schoenfeld Asset Management LP, according to a Feb. 27 regulatory filing.

Kate Aldridge, a spokeswoman for Travelport, declined to comment on speculation about the company’s IPO. Representatives from Morgan Stanley and UBS also declined to comment.

United Airlines

Travelport, which is marketed under the names Apollo, Galileo and Worldspan, traces its history to 1971, when it was introduced by United Airlines. The company has a presence in more than 170 countries, with 3,600 full-time employees, according to its website.

Sabre Corp. (SABR), which raised $721 million in its April IPO, listed Travelport as a competitor in its prospectus. Sabre has gained 20 percent since its debut. Morgan Stanley managed the South Lake, Texas-based company’s IPO.

Travelport holds a 37 percent stake in Orbitz Worldwide Inc. (OWW), making it the largest shareholder in the Chicago-based travel-bookings site. The company says on its website that it also owns a 57 percent stake in ENett International Pte, its virtual payment provider.

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To contact the editors responsible for this story: Mohammed Hadi at Elizabeth Wollman

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