Opodo prepares to take wing in a £100m-plus sale

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The Independent Online

The owner of DIY travel website Opodo is understood to have taken the first steps towards a sale that could value it at well over £100m, after an overhaul of Opodo's management structure.

The new decentralised structure is intended to give the company's local management direct control over individual markets. A number of senior staff will leave, by mutual consent, as a result.

Opodo is controlled by Spanish tech giant Amadeus, which in turn is owned by private equity firms BC Partners and Cinven. Amadeus declined to comment, but sources close to Opodo confirmed the shake-up was a key strategic move.

The London-based Opodo, which sells holidays from nine European markets, was launched in 2001 by airlines including BA and Aer Lingus. They have since sold down their holding and Amadeus - acquired by BC and Cinven in 2005 - took a 55 per cent stake in 2004 for £43m.

Opodo's value is likely to have soared since then, however, and the sector has been through a wave of consolidation in recent years. Travelocity acquired lastminute.com for £577m, while fellow US group Cendant paid $404m (£206m) for ebookers.

Opodo's 2005 losses came in at €33.8m (£22.3m) against losses of €50.2m. Revenues were €145m.