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New Orbitz Stock Conundrum: Higher Guidance vs. Secondary Offering (Updated)

Orbitz Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: OWW) may have just put a hex on its shares with news that many shareholders will view with mixed emotions. The company issued guidance, signaling that revenue in the second quarter would be higher than expected. Then it also said that an affiliate of Travelport Ltd., the Atlanta-based e-commerce firm that owns 37% of Orbitz, was selling shares.

Please Note: This story has been updated to reflect the offering and reaction.

On the guidance front, its June quarterly revenues were forecast at roughly $248 million. The company also said that its EBITDA would be roughly $45 million. The consensus analyst estimate was for sales of $243 million, and Factset was shown to have an EBITDA expectation of closer to $45.6 million. Another “boost” was that the company represented its room night growth as being 20%.

Where things went awry was in the Orbitz stock sale announcement. The Travelport affiliate was originally going to sell 20 million shares, with an overallotment option of 3 million more shares, through Credit Suisse as the lead manager. It turns out that the deal was up-sized, effectively removing the Travelport affiliates almost entirely. They sold 34 million shares at $8.25 per share, and the holders gave the underwriters a 5 million share overallotment option.

As a reminder, no proceeds from the share sale will go to the company. Orbitz said that its available liquidity was approximately $345 million, broken down as approximately $265 million in cash and cash equivalents plus another $80 million available on its revolving credit facility — versus a pre-news market cap of about $980 million.

After looking at the Orbitz major shareholder list, the Travelport affiliate group held some 39.782 million shares prior to the offering, Rather than cutting the stake and influence in half, or even closer to 60%, now the Travelport affiliate group is almost gone entirely.

Investors love raised guidance, when it is clean. Raised guidance, plus a major insider share sale — not so much! Amazingly, the stock has recovered handily from the $8.30 early bird indications.

Orbitz shares closed at $8.97 on Wednesday, against a 52-week trading range of $6.40 to $13.26. That stock was trading at $8.75 on last look, with over 9 million shares having traded hands – 9 times an average day’s trading volume. . Before the news of this offering, the Thomson Reuters consensus analyst price target was $9.10.

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By all measures this still presents a conundrum for shareholders. This could lead to all sorts of voting and oversight changes, but in the post-activist world we would point out that this could now go either way. Orbitz is profitable, but it trades at an above-market premium on its forward earnings per share multiples.