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Blackstone’s Travelport Files for Trip-Booking Platform IPO

Travelport Worldwide Ltd., the travel-booking platform bought by Blackstone Group LP eight years ago, filed for a U.S. initial public offering.

The company -- with technology used by travel agents to book flights, hotels and rental cars for consumers -- slated a $100 million placeholder for the IPO, a figure used to calculate fees that may change. Travelport may raise about $500 million in the sale, people familiar with the matter said this week. The Atlanta-based company plans to use the proceeds from the offering to repay some of its debt.

Blackstone acquired Travelport in 2006 for $4.3 billion, and sought a London listing for it in 2010. That plan was derailed by the sovereign debt crisis in Europe. As it looks to enter the public market again, Travelport hasn’t turned an annual profit since 2011 and has about $3.5 billion in total debt, as of March.

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., which raised $721 million in its April IPO, listed Travelport as a competitor in its prospectus. Sabre has gained about 16 percent since its debut. Morgan Stanley managed the South Lake, Texas-based company’s IPO.

Orbitz Worldwide

Travelport holds a 37 percent stake in Orbitz Worldwide Inc., 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.

Blackstone, Technology Crossover Ventures and One Equity Partners LLC have an indirect stake in through a limited partnership, which owns 18 percent of Travelport’s outstanding shares, according to the prospectus. The number of shares each private investor owns was not identified in today’s filing.

Travelport’s lenders agreed to swap their bonds for equity earlier this year. The company negotiated a private exchange agreement with Morgan Stanley, AllianceBernstein Holding LP and P. Schoenfeld Asset Management LP, according to a Feb. 27 regulatory filing.

Morgan Stanley, UBS AG, Credit Suisse Group AG and Deutsche Bank AG are managing the IPO.

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