Travelport Worldwide Ltd., the travel-booking platform bought by Blackstone Group LP eight years ago, raised $480 million in its initial public offering, pricing the shares at the high end of the marketed range.
The company sold 30 million shares for $16 apiece, according to a statement today, after offering them for $14 to $16. At the IPO price, Travelport has an enterprise value of $4.3 billion. The shares will start trading tomorrow, listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TVPT.
For Blackstone, taking Travelport public is the final leg of a bumpy ride. The private-equity giant, which owns 9.5 percent of the company and isn’t selling shares in the offering, injected $775 million of equity in a leveraged buyout of Travelport in 2006, later lifting its investment to just over $800 million. In 2007, Blackstone recouped most of its money through a debt-funded dividend. Then the recession struck.
Amid mounting losses, Travelport ceded control in 2011 to junior creditors, wiping out most of Blackstone’s holding. Blackstone’s remaining stake is valued at $137.6 million based on the IPO price. Separately, Blackstone garnered $367 million this year selling most of its stake in Orbitz Worldwide Inc., which Travelport spun out in an IPO in 2007.
Travelport’s other investors include Angelo Gordon & Co., which holds a 17 percent stake, Q Investments LP with 11 percent and Morgan Stanley with 7.6 percent. Those investors aren’t selling shares in the IPO, according to the prospectus.
The offering is 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. The share sale was later canceled due to volatility caused by the European sovereign debt crisis.
One of Travelport’s competitors, Sabre Corp., went public in April, raising $721 million including an overallotment. Sabre priced a reduced number of shares below the marketed range and has gained 18 percent since its debut.
Travelport plans to use the proceeds from the offering to reduce its debt. The company has posted losses in four of the past five years, regulatory filings show.
Morgan Stanley, UBS AG, Credit Suisse Group AG and Deutsche Bank AG managed the IPO.
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