Odigeo owners eyeing Madrid share sale for travel group: FT

(Reuters) – Private equity firms Permira and Ardian are considering listing shares in online travel group Odigeo in Madrid this year, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday, citing sources with knowledge of the matter.

Plans for an initial public offering of Europe’s biggest online travel firm, which operates under the brands Opodo, GO Voyages, eDreams and Travellink, are at an early stage, the Financial Times said.

It added that the IPO was expected to value the company at about 1.5 billion euros, including debt, and that it could happen as early as April.

Permira and Ardian, formerly known as Axa Private Equity, declined to comment.

Odigeo, headquartered in Barcelona, is the combination of several acquisitions of European online travel agents by the two private equity firms.

Bloomberg reported that Permira and Ardian were working with JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank on a possible IPO, adding it could yet happen in London or Paris instead of Madrid and that the company was still deciding.

Stock market listings are tipped to pick up in Spain this year as the country emerges from a deep recession. Private equity group Carlyle Group (CG.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) recently picked Morgan Stanley and UBS to oversee a flotation of Spanish industrial testing group Applus+, mostly likely in Madrid, according to a source familiar with the matter.