(Corrects to show Amadeus owns 99.4 percent of Opodo and not
* Sale would follow buyout deals for eDreams, Go Voyages
* Opodo expected to make about 31 mln euros EBITDA this
* Agent covers nine countries; listed rivals include
(Adds earlier deals, Amadeus owners, Sunday Times report)
By Quentin Webb
LONDON, Sept 20 Spanish travel services group
Amadeus IT Holding SA (AMA.MC) is seeking a buyer for its 99.4
percent stake in European online travel agent Opodo, three
people familiar with the matter said on Monday.
JPMorgan (JPM.N) has been hired as an adviser, they said.
Amadeus, the travel-reservations technology company that
returned to the public market in April, has controlled Opodo
since 2004 but does not view the holding as strategic.
Opodo competes with U.S. rivals such as Expedia Inc
(EXPE.O), Priceline.Com Inc (PCLN.O) and Orbitz Worldwide Inc
Its first-half earnings before interest, tax, depreciation
and amortization (EBITDA) rose 34 percent to 17.2 million euros
($22.5 million), on revenues of 53.7 million.
The potential deal follows two private equity purchases of
European travel agencies earlier this year: TA Associates sold
Barcelona-based eDreams to Permira in a deal the Financial
Times said was worth 250-300 million euros, and AXA Private
Equity took a majority stake in French group Go Voyages.
Amadeus would not comment. Opodo could not be reached for
comment nor could JPMorgan.
Despite its flotation earlier this year, Amadeus is still
owned primarily by five shareholders, with just 31.9 percent of
its shares in free float as of July 9.
Private equity firms Cinven [CINV.UL] and BC Partners
[BCPRT.UL] own 17.36 percent each, Air France (AIRF.PA) 15.22
percent, Iberia Lineas Aereas de Espana SA IBLA.MC 9 percent,
and Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHAG.DE) holds 7.61 percent.
On Sept. 5 Britain's Sunday Times reported Amadeus had held
preliminary talks with banks about selling Opodo but said no
banks had been picked as advisers.
($1 = 0.7636 euro)
(Reporting by Quentin Webb; Additional reporting by Simon
Meads in London and Judy MacInnes in Madrid; Editing by Greg
Mahlich, Dan Lalor and Gerald E. McCormick)