Touted Travelport London listing postponed until markets settle

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The Independent Online

Continued market turmoil has delayed the London Stock Exchange listing of Travelport, which at $2bn (£1.5bn) would have been one of the biggest initial public offerings of 2008.

The company, which provides services to the travel industry such as detailed hotel databases, had been earmarked by owner Blackstone, the private equity group, for a first-quarter flotation. However, a source close to the IPO said that an investors roadshow was now unlikely to start until May or June at the earliest, by which time lead adviser UBS hopes the credit markets will have improved.

The source added that the US-based Travelport was keen to complete the listing by the end of the second quarter but said abandonment of a flotation was also still an option.

The source said: "You would expect an announcement of a formal intention to float by now if Travelport was to list in the first quarter."

A leading leisure banker doubted that an IPO could be completed in even the revised timescale. He added: "I do not believe that this is going to happen until the back-end of this year, even though they are extremely keen to float in the UK."

The listing could value the company at up to $8bn, as Blackstone is only expected to list around 25 per cent of the company. The US-based buyout giant bought Travelport from Cendant Corp, the New York-listed conglomerate, in August 2006 for $4.3bn.

UBS leads a five-strong team of banks that have worked on the proposal since at least last October. The others are Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche and Citigroup.

Travelport is co-owned by One Equity Partners and Technology Crossover Ventures. The company had a turnover of $3.4bn in 2006 and operates in 145 countries. Travelport also owns 48 per cent of Orbitz Worldwide, the online travel company.

The listing is not the first to fall foul of the markets. Earlier this month Nitol Solar, a Russia-based silicon producer, canned a January listing of a 25-30 per cent stake that would have valued the company at about $1bn. And earlier this month, Turner and Townsend, the construction consultancy, pulled a full-list flotation that would have raised £80m and valued the company at £200m.