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Travel Industry Preps for IPOs

Wall Street is ready to put it’s money on travel again, with a rash of IPOs scheduled for the coming months. Here’s an overview of the major public offerings that are going to hit the markets late this year or early next year.

Hyatt Hotels Corp. – Back in August, Hyatt had filed plans for a $1.15 billion IPO with the SEC. A couple of days back, they filed an amendment, which offers some more details.

According to the new filing, Hyatt is offering at least 38 million shares of Class A common stock for between $23 to $26 per share. Hyatt will be trading in the NYSE under the symbol ‘H’.

Las Vegas Casinos – Sin City’s big players are cashing in big time on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Las Vegas Sands Corp. has already filed for it’s own $2 billion Hong Kong IPO, which is due to complete its listing next month.


MGM Mirage, which operates the $1.25 billion MGM Grand Macau, is also planning a Hong Kong IPO, according to MGM Mirage Chairman and CEO Jim Murren. Earlier this month, Wynn Resorts Ltd. raised $1.87 billion in what was Hong Kong’s second biggest IPO for the year.

REITs – The flood of hotels going into foreclosure you saw in the past few months was a result of hotel companies bailing out of big mortgages based on pre-recession valuations. Hotel REITs are now looking to boost their liquidity and be ready to invest on the same undervalued properties, but with smaller mortgages.

Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc., which handed back the W San Diego to lenders in June because the property was devalued, is now planning to sell at least 14 million shares.

The Chesapeake Lodging Trust filed IPO plans in September to raise up to $460 million. Last week, the Pebblebrook Hotel Trust filed for a $402.5 million IPO, with plans to buy upscale hotels and resorts in the 20 largest US cities.

Blackstone Group – Earlier this month, Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman sent a letter to investors in which he said that the group was gearing up for IPOs for eight of its companies, including Europe based Merlin Entertainment, which owns the Legoland Parks. Blackstone recently announced the purchase 10 more theme parks from AB-InBev for $2.7 billion.

Another of Blackstone’s assets – Travelport, is all set to revive it’s plan for a listing in London. Travelport was purchased by Blackstone in 2006 for $4.3 billion, and was looking good for an $8 billion floatation in 2007 just before the markets crashed. The plan was shelved at that time.

Travelport’s GDS competitor Amadeus IT Group SA, owned by London based private equity group BC Partners and Cinven Group, is itself on the verge of a similar $8 billion IPO listing on the Madrid stock exchange, provided the markets remain buoyant next year. 

Both Travelport & Amadeus are pressing ahead with their respective IPOs after merger talks between the two reportedly ended in nought. And Sabre Holdings, which was acquired for $5.4 billion in 2006 by private equity firms TPG and Silver Lake Partners, has similar tentative plans for an IPO sometime next year.

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