Partnerships / Acquisitions

Expedia Reportedly Near Deal To Sell $1 Billion Stake To Silver Lake And Apollo

Expedia

Well-known private-equity firms Silver Lake and Apollo are poised to buy a $1 billion minority stake in Seattle-based travel listing giant Expedia Group Inc., according to The Wall Street Journal.

Expedia CEO Barry Diller is expected to give the new investors seats on the board as part of the deal, which the paper said could be announced this week. But sources told the WSJ that even if the deal collapses, Expedia could seek cash elsewhere, including in a public debt offering.

Last month, Expedia withdrew its 2020 adjusted EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, in the wake of the growing impact from the COVID-19 outbreak, which has brought the travel industry to a near halt.

“As COVID-19 has rapidly spread from Asia to Europe and North America over the past few weeks, travel trends have continued to worsen,” Diller and Vice Chairman Peter Kern said in a statement. “It remains difficult to predict how long this pandemic will persist, and given the lack of visibility on our trends, we’ve decided to withdraw our 2020 guidance.” 

Expedia runs travel booking brands including Travelocity, Orbitz and Vrbo. Demand for travel services has dropped because of travel restrictions and social distancing to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

In December, Expedia announced its CEO Mark Okerstrom and CFO Alan Pickerill stepped down because of a fight over the travel company’s strategy. In the meantime, Diller — long a media visionary — has been filling the position as new leadership is sought.

If Expedia does ink the $1 billion deal, it will come some two weeks after Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners, a global finance and investment firm, invested a separate $1 billion in travel giant Airbnb. The new money is expected to support Airbnb’s investment in its community of hosts who share their homes, the company said at the time.

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