Travelzoo sale speculation mounts

Travelzoo sale speculation mounts

Online travel deals firm Travelzoo is being linked with a possible sale.

The list of potential buyers could include Amazon and Google, which bought travel technology company ITA Software last year, Reuters reported.

The New York-based company has a market value of more than $336 million. Having initially refused to say anything the firm eventually said it does not validate any claims of interest in it as it attracts constant speculation.

Travelzoo’s move comes after it received takeover interest from private equity firms and trade buyers, sources told the news agency.

The unnamed sources said online travel website ODIGEO, which is owned by AXA Private Equity and Permira, could also be a likely buyer.

Shares of Travelzoo were up almost 30% in early dealings on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, trading close to $27.

Travelzoo’s more than 24 million subscribers in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, and its depressed stock price, could prove to be an attractive proposition for buyers.

Dan Kurnos, a research analyst at The Benchmark Company, was quoted as saying: “Travelzoo comes with a built in subscriber base and you are getting a business that is probably growing 10% to 15% even in challenging economic times.

“It makes sense for them to be acquired by somebody, especially given the success that Groupon has had with getaways.”

Travelzoo recently entered the local deals market, allowing subscribers to purchase vouchers from local businesses such as spas, hotels and restaurants, and putting it in direct competition with online coupon websites such as Groupon.

The company is controlled by Ralph Bartel, who founded Travelzoo in 1998 and serves as a director with a 53.3% ownership. His brother Holger Bartel is chairman.

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