london stock exchangeUpdate Feb 10: Blackstone has just pulled its IPO, launched on Feb 1, but may go back to the market when “conditions are more favourable”…

Read ‘em and weep. According to the financial press, Travelport, which owns the Galileo and Worldspan GDS, 48% of online retailer Orbitz plus wholesaler GTA, is carrying debt well in excess of its actual market value, which will be tested in an upcoming float on the on the London Stock Exchange. Majority-owner Blackstone Group will attempt to sell most of Travelport for GPB1.2 billion in a raising that, if successful, will value the company at GBP1.8 billion. Dow Jones reports that Travelport has debts of around GPB2.2 billion. Its businesses have been struggling for some time with overall revenue down 10% for the September quarter. Blackstone and its co-investors paid US$4.3 billion for Travelport in 2006, spinning out part of Orbirtz, a major US Online Travel Agency, in an unsuccessful float on the New York Stock Exchange in 2007. Orbitz shares, valued at US$15 in the IPO, are now worth just under US$7. Let’s hope Travelport investors have more luck.

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