Travel tech firm Mondee to go public in $1 bln SPAC deal

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A street sign, Wall Street, is seen outside New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, New York, U.S., January 3, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

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Dec 20 (Reuters) - U.S. travel software maker Mondee Inc said on Monday it will go public in a merger with blank-check company ITHAX Acquisition Corp (ITHX.O), in a deal valuing the combined entity at about $1 billion.

The deal includes $241.5 million in cash held in trust by the acquisition vehicle and $50 million in private placement in public equity anchored by investors including funds affiliated with Morgan Stanley Investment Management, among others.

Mondee's listing plans come at a time the global travel and hospitality industries are recovering from a roughly two-year slump due to by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Founded in 2011, Mondee offers a software platform to travel agencies, tour operators and other distributors. It has acquired multiple platforms in the travel tech space, including Rocketrip and Cosmopolitan Travel Services.

Earlier this month, American Express Global Business Travel said it will merge with a blank-check company backed by Apollo Global Management Inc (APO.N) in a deal valued at around $5.3 billion. read more .

Sponsored by the founders of Ithaca Capital and AXIA Ventures, ITHAX raised $241.5 million in an initial public offering (IPO) in January this year. It intended to target a company in the travel and hospitality sectors, it said in February.

A SPAC is a listed firm with no business operations but a pool of capital raised through an IPO that it uses to merge with a private company that it takes public.

Silicon Valley-headquartered Mondee will list on Nasdaq under the symbol "MOND" after the deal closes in the first half of next year.

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Reporting by Mehnaz Yasmin in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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