Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Short-Term Rentals

Sonder’s 1-For-20 Reverse Stock Split to Become Effective Wednesday at Market Close

8 months ago

Sonder announced Tuesday that its 1-for-20 reverse stock split would become legally effective after market close Wednesday, and that its shares would start trading on that basis Thursday morning.

The move is geared to get the stock trading at more than $1 per share in compliance with Nasdaq rules.

“As of the Effective Time, every 20 shares of the Company’s issued and outstanding common stock and every 20 shares of its issued and outstanding special voting common stock will be combined into one issued and outstanding share of common stock or one issued and outstanding share of special voting common stock, respectively,” Sonder announced. “The total number of authorized shares of common stock will be reduced from 400,000,000 to 20,000,000, and the total number of authorized shares of special voting common stock will be reduced from 40,000,000 to 2,000,000.”

Sonder closed trading on Tuesday at $0.34 per share.

The reverse stock split doesn’t change Sonder’s market cap, which was $74.8 million at market close on Tuesday.

After receiving a notice from Nasdaq in April that its shares could be delisted because their price had dipped below $1 per share for 30 trading days in a row, Sonder announced in July would ask shareholders to approve a reverse stock split, which they did on Friday in a special meeting.

Sonder is among a bevy of SPACS, which saw its share prices tumble, some below $1 per share, after they went public.

The majority of Sonder’s listings are for short-term rentals, but hotel rooms are a growing portion of its portfolio.

It has an advantage in places like New York City, which just clamped down on host registrations for short-term rentals, because Sonder has many hotel licenses, and these are legal.

Hotels

Hotel Brand Selina Sees Upswing in Financial Performance

9 months ago

Selina, a hotel and experiences brand focused on youth travelers, said on Wednesday that its financial metrics were trending in the right direction as it reported earnings results.

In the second quarter, the company generated $52.5 million in revenue, a bump of 15.9% year-over-year. Factors included higher occupancy rates, reductions in corporate overhead, and essentially higher revenue per customer.

The company also narrowed its losses. It reported $700,000 in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, compared to a $5.8 million loss in the same period a year ago.

Selina said it was “aggressively executing a comprehensive real estate portfolio optimization plan” that “includes renegotiating all leases through abatements, deferrals, and terminations.”

In the quarter, the company also collected $10 million as the first phase of a planned strategic investment of up to $50 million led by Global University Systems (GUS), which runs for-profit universities. It also drew $10 million under its $50 million credit facility with Latin America’s Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Selina’s stock price dipped below $1 last month, where it has remained. If Selina’s stock remains below $1 for about a month, the Nasdaq exchange will issue a notice of a plan to delist the shares from trading. Selina will then have 180 days to push the value of shares higher.

The company aims to report a continued upward trend, which could appeal to investors.

“Selina continues to focus on three key strategic areas: improving cash flow, advancing toward profitability, and building our brand,” said Rafael Museri, co-founder and CEO, in a statement.

Selina's earnings report

Short-Term Rentals

Sonder Sets Shareholder Meeting to Approve Stock Split to Stay on Nasdaq

10 months ago

Sonder shareholders will vote in a special meeting September 15 on whether to give the board approval to carry out a reverse stock split — with the split ratio subject to the board’s discretion.

Francis Davidson and Seth Borko
Sonder CEO Francis Davidson on stage with Skift Director of Research Seth Borko at the Skift Short-Term Rental Summit on June 7, 2023. Source: Skift

The idea behind the move is to keep Sonder, which went public in a special purpose acquisition company deal on January 19 2022, trading on Nasdaq after getting notified that the run might end because the share price was trading below $1 for an extended duration.

An affirmative vote seems like a done deal. The board will decide whether the split will be “1-for-10, 1-for-15, 1-for-20 or 1-for-25” etc., Sonder said in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing Wednesday.

The split will in itself will not impact the company’s market cap, which stood at a mere $125 million after Wednesday’s close.

Atreides controls 9.2% of the vote, Fidelity 7.3%, Spark Capital 6.7%, and CEO Francis Davidson 5.3%.

Plenty of SPACs had their share prices plummet after their market debuts in the last couple of years, as stock markets tired of speedy growth with accompanying large losse,s and looked for profitability. Sonder is not expected to be profitable for full year 2023.

Short-Term Rentals

Sonder’s New Top Financial Exec Has Skin in the Game — 2.7 Million Stock Options

1 year ago

Sonder, the property management company that went public through a blank check merger, or SPAC, found someone to replace its outgoing chief financial officer with the help of 2.7 million stock options as an incentive.

sonder europa washington dc
The Sonder Europa in Washington, D.C. Source: Sonder

It is challenging to recruit a chief financial officer when your stock was trading at $0.90 per share, the exercise price on the date of the grant, March 16. SOND closed Monday at $0.81 with a paltry $179 million valuation.

Bourgault most recently served as chief financial officer at online diamond retailer and privately held Blue Nile for a year-and-a-half until October 2022. Before Blue Nile, he served in various financial positions at Expedia Group for 17 years, including departing as chief financial officer of Expedia Portfolio and Retail in March 2020.

Some 25 percent of the new chief financial officer’s stock option grant will vest on the first anniversary of his hiring. His annual salary is $495,000.

Bourgault can earn a fortune if he can help steer Sonder into share price territory that is well above flirting with a delisting edict.

He replaced Sanjay Banker, who served as Sonder’s chief financial officer and president until December 2022. Bourgault does not have the title of president.

In 2021, Banker earned a $465,000 salary and had nearly 46,000 option awards — compared with Bourgault’s roughly 2.7 million.

Hotels

Selina’s Delayed Stock Market Debut Now Scheduled for Oct. 21

2 years ago

More than nine months after revealing its ambitions to list on the New York Stock Exchange, at a $1.2 billion valuation, self-styled lifestyle and experiential hotel company Selina has set a date to go public, by merging with BOA Acquisition Corp — a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

The pair announced Monday that the registration statement filed in December last year was declared effective by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Sept. 30. It originally planned to go public in the first half.

Now, if the merger partner’s shareholders approve the deal at a special meeting Oct. 21, and other conditions are satisfied, Selina’s common stock would start trading under the symbol “SLNA” following the closing.

Selina expects to raise $54 million in PIPE (private investment in public equity) proceeds, up to $231 million in cash from BOA’s trust account and $118 million from subscriptions to the $147.5 million principal amount of 6% senior unsecured convertible notes due 2026.

The money raised will be used to fund operations and continue its plans to achieve profitability.

Selina’s been fairly active in the past few months, with new partnerships including freelancer platform Fiverr and a party thrown for potential investors just weeks ago.

In the first half of the year it has opened 3,368 bed spaces within 13 properties in Greece, Australia, Portugal, Panama, the U.S, Israel and new location Morocco.

It also signed 7,374 bed spaces within 17 new properties and expansions across Australia, the U.S., Greece, Mexico, Portugal, Panama and Israel. This brings the total count at the end of the first half to 163 open and secured locations in 25 countries.

“We continue the positive momentum to a record year ahead; we keep being true to our mission by connecting our brand to local guests, remote workers, and digital nomads. In the first half of this year, we increased our total revenue by 142 percent and occupancy by 60 percent compared to the same period in 2021,” said Rafael Museri, co-founder and CEO of Selina, which mainly targets millennial and Gen Z travelers.

Selina was founded in 2014.

Online Travel

Thai Energy Giant PTT Will Invest in Traveloka

2 years ago

Thailand-based public firm PTT Oil and Retail Business (PTTOR) is set to invest in Indonesian travel superapp Traveloka, through its subsidiary, PTTOR International Holdings Singapore.

While the value of the investment has not yet been disclosed, the retail arm of Thailand’s state-owned energy giant PTT, through its collaboration with Traveloka, aims to provide additional lifestyle solutions to its customers in line with its strategy to become a one-stop solution for all lifestyle needs.

Having so far raised a total of $1.2 billion in funding, Traveloka was said to be in talks for another funding round of more than $200 million, after its plans to go public through a special acquisition company failed to take off.

Last valued at $3 billion, there had been speculations that the online travel and lifestyle company could go public via a traditional initial public offering in the U.S. instead.

The Indonesia-based online travel unicorn that has its presence in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Philippines has since been seeking new investment opportunities.

Besides offering travel, tourism and accommodation options, Traveloka has now developed into a superapp allowing users to book healthcare, financial services products and food delivery.

With PTT Oil and Retail Business’ expertise, Traveloka aims to capture the demand and provide enhanced solutions to its customers, while also creating new opportunities for its merchant-partners in Thailand and the region.

“We see immense value from the collaboration as we see the region growing at a rapid pace, leading to greater opportunities in the industry,” Ferry Unardi, co-founder and CEO of Traveloka, said.

As tourism is one of the major economic contributors to the Thai economy, PTTOR aims to strengthen its focus on the sector through this initiative while providing growth opportunities for small and medium enterprises in the travel sector.

“Given Traveloka’s position as a leading online platform for travel and lifestyle services in Southeast Asia, as well as its strong technology capabilities, I believe there is a range of areas we can explore together with Traveloka, to further enhance our tech capabilities,” Jiraphon Kawswat, president and CEO of PTTOR, said. 

Business Travel

Amex GBT Shares Climb 13 Percent After First Day Trading

2 years ago

A smooth, steady start for American Express Global Business Travel during its stock market debut.

The world’s largest corporate travel agency listed on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, under the ticket symbol GBTG, following a business combination deal with Apollo Strategic Growth Capital. The parties initially announced the combination on December 3, 2021.

Shares opened at $7.55 on its first day as a public company. They closed higher at $8.37 after its first day trading on Tuesday.

“We have a significant growth opportunity ahead of us,” said CEO Paul Abbott in a LinkedIn post Tuesday. “As a public company, we have the flexibility to realise Amex GBT’s full potential.”

It was only on May 27, the Friday before the Memorial weekend, that Amex GBT announced it would begin trading on Tuesday. That followed Apollo Strategic Growth Capital shareholders voting to approve its combination with Amex GBT days earlier, on May 25.

As part of its go-public merger, Amex GBT received $335 million from a PIPE, or private investment in public equity, deal with new investors including Zoom, Sabre and private equity group Ares Management.

They join existing backers American Express, Expedia and Certares. Only 15 percent of the company’s stock is expected to be owned by public shareholders.

Investors will be betting on the recovery of corporate travel, which despite rising air fares seems to be on track to exceed spending last seen in 2019 by the end of the year. In April, Amex GBT execs sought to assure investors that the pandemic was just a blip for corporate travel.

They may have just pulled it off.

“For far too long the darlings of travel, like Booking.com and Expedia, have been the focus. With Amex GBT using their SPAC to go public, it now brings corporate travel as a sector and a place to work to the forefront of people’s minds,” said Gavin Smith, director of Element Travel Technology. “It might even help bring those who left, back to the sector. Corporate travel now sits where it should always have done, side by side with leisure.”

However, one investor who wished to remain anonymous told Skift: “We ended up deciding to not participate since the valuation relative to some of the other things we are seeing in the market wasn’t as compelling. It’s a good business with nice tailwinds, it’s just there are more interesting things to be invested in right now.”

Business Travel

Amex GBT Optimistic After Clients’ Travel Spending Spree

2 years ago

The world’s biggest corporate travel agency has seen record growth in its customers spending.

In line with (most) other travel industry earnings results, American Express Global Business Travel has seen a significant bounce back over the past few months.

The agency reported a 454 percent increase in total transaction value for this year’s, compared to the same quarter in 2021.

Posting its first-quarter results on Tuesday, it reported transactions of $4.15 billion for the three months ended March 31, compared with $749 million in the prior year’s quarter.

Revenue for the quarter increased 179 percent to $350 million, but it made a net loss of $91 million, a slight improvement on the $114 million loss for the same period in 2021.

As a result of the improved transaction recovery, Amex GBT raised its full-year 2022 revenue guidance by $250 million to $1.75 billion.

Transaction recovery in the last three weeks of April 20224 reached 72 percent of 2019 pro forma, increased 11 points versus the last week of March 2022, the company said.

“We believe we have reached a pivotal moment in the business travel recovery,” said CEO Paul Abbott.

The agency plans to go public later this year by merging with an Apollo Management-backed blank check company.