Cendant Corp., which owns major real estate brands including Coldwell Banker, Century 21 and ERA, has announced that it may choose to sell off its travel distribution services division rather than spin-off the division as a separate company.
Cendant officials said in a statement today that the company has retained Citigroup, JPMorgan and Evercore Partners as financial advisors “in connection with the potential sale,” and Citigroup and JPMorgan “have developed a financing proposal for qualified buyers.”
The company had announced in February that it would split into four separate companies: a real estate company, Realogy; a hotel company, Wyndham Worldwide; a car rental company, Avis Budget Group; and a travel distribution services company.
The planned launch of Realogy Corp. is still on track, according to the announcement today – that spin-off is planned around June. While the company is considering a sale of TDS, it may also proceed with the spin-off of that division, as previously planned.
Realogy represents the largest real estate franchise company in the country. Cendant subsidiary NRT Inc. operates company-owned real estate offices.
Henry Silverman, Cendant CEO and chairman, said in a statement released today, “As a result of receiving a number of unsolicited indications of interest to acquire TDS (the travel distribution services division), the company has decided to further explore other strategic alternatives for that business. The company’s decision to consider a sale in addition to pursuing the spin-off is due, in part, to the fact that a sale of TDS is not expected to result in a material tax liability, as would a sale of Cendant’s other divisions.”
The TDS executive management team includes Gordon Bethune, chairman, and Jeff Clarke, CEO and president.
Bethune said in a statement, “Our decision to join TDS was based upon the opportunity we see in driving growth and value of a highly integrated global travel company. We believe that this can be achieved in either the public or private arena and we are fully supportive of the board’s desire to optimize the value for Cendant shareholders.”
Last week, Cendant announced that TDS will be re-named Travelport. Bethune also said in the statement that this re-branding “further identifies our company as the destination for travel bookings.” TDS brands include Orbitz, Galileo and Gullivers Travel Associates (GTA).
“It is currently anticipated that the net cash proceeds from a potential sale of TDS, if completed, would be utilized primarily to reduce the debt anticipated to be incurred by TDS, Realogy Corp. and Wyndham Worldwide to pay off the public corporate debt of Cendant. Whether TDS is sold or spun-off, Cendant still intends to retire, redeem or repay all of its outstanding corporate debt in connection with the separation plan,” according to the announcement.
TDS employs about 8,000 people and operates in nearly 130 countries.