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Final bids for Opodo expected

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Private equity firms to submit joint bid for Amadeus business

Today is the deadline for final bids for Opodo, the online travel website that the Madrid-based company Amadeus IT Group has put up for sale. The smallest of the three businesses owned by Amadeus, Opodo brings in just 4% of Amadeus’ annual revenue. This is mostly from airline ticket sales — €53.7 million in the first six months of 2010, up 5.8% year-on-year.

Its main markets are Germany, the Nordic countries, France and the UK. Amadeus, whose other businesses are Global Distribution Services, netting around 70% of its revenue, and the reservation platform Altea, explains that Opodo is being sold because it is not considered central to the company. Two highly successful global private equity firms, Permira based in London and AXA Private Equity based in Paris, are expected to submit a joint bid for Opodo through similar businesses they already own. It is unlikely that any other bids will be submitted today.

The auction could reach anywhere between €400 million and €500 million. AXA owns the French online agency Go Voyages, which it bought in May, while Permira purchased the Spanish travel agency eDreams in July. Their bid for Opodo would be made through these companies.

WSJ

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