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Tripadvisor’s Potential Sale: Apollo Still a Suitor

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Skift Take

There will be a lot of moving pieces over the next few months if indeed a sale of Tripadvisor gets done.

More than two months after Tripadvisor formed an independent committee to mull a potential sale, there has been silence from both controlling shareholder Liberty Tripadvisor Holdings and Tripadvisor itself.

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That may change soon when both companies report quarterly results on May 8.

One thing is clear about the sales process so far: Private equity firm Apollo Global Management is still a suitor, as reported in early March, and there has been ample interest from other parties, according to a source.

There are several scenarios in play, the source said. These include acquiring Tripadvisor and spinning off its Viator tours and activities brand, or keeping the company intact, among other options.

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Tripadvisor formed a committee of independent directors to evaluate any offers.

March 2025 Deadline Is One Backdrop to the Sale Process

One factor influencing the ultimate decision: Liberty Tripadvisor faces a late March 2025 deadline to redeem $330 million of Series A preferred stock for cash.

That obligation grew out of a $325 million preferred stock investment that private equity firm Certares made in Liberty Tripadvisor in March 2020 near the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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“One question is how LibertyTripadvisor will pay off that preferred stock before or in March 2025,” said Brian Fitzgerald, managing director at Wells Fargo Securities. “The company could issue Liberty TripAdvisor stock or possibly reach a merger deal with Tripadvisor that could result in the retirement or assumption of the preferred on tax-efficient terms.”

Investors we spoke with disagreed on how much this will impact negotiations.

One investor argued that Liberty Tripadvisor, which got delisted from Nasdaq in October, is in a weak bargaining position because of the March 2025 deadline, which puts pressure on it to sell.

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Another source said Liberty Tripadvisor has ample resources to redeem the preferred stock in the next year, and has plenty of options to refinance it.

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