| SAO PAULO/SAN FRANCISCO
SAO PAULO/SAN FRANCISCO Nov 30 Buenos
Aires-based online travel agency Decolar.com Inc has held
preliminary talks with investment banks for a U.S. listing on
Nasdaq in the second half of 2017, three people with knowledge
of the plan said.
New York-based hedge fund Tiger Global Management LLC, which
owns 60 percent of Decolar.com, is spearheading the plan on the
understanding that the 17-year-old company is sufficiently
established and well-recognized to go public, said the sources,
who requested anonymity since the plan is private.
According to two of the sources, Decolar.com has yet to hire
the banks to underwrite the listing, although talks with some of
them have taken place. The second source said Citigroup Inc
, Morgan Stanley & Co, JPMorgan Chase & Co
and an unnamed Brazilian peer are candidates for underwriting
A media relations executive working for Decolar.com
confirmed the initial public offering plan without giving
additional information. Tiger Global Management's media office
declined to comment, as did the banks.
Decolar.com is one of the few private technology companies
valued at more than $1 billion, or "unicorns," in Latin America,
where many startups collapsed when the U.S. technology bubble of
the early 2000s burst.
Decolar.com and similar competitors around the world have
gained business scale over the past decade by taking advantage
of their digital platforms to draw customers from traditional
hotel- and flight-booking companies.
Miami-based entrepreneur Roberto Souviron founded
Decolar.com in 1999. It operates in nearly two dozen Latin
American countries through the Spanish-language website
Despegar.com and the Portuguese-language site Decolar.com.
The company had $3.5 billion in gross bookings last year, of
which about 40 percent came from Brazil, two of the sources
said. The metric was about 10 times that of CVC Brasil Operadora
e Agencia de Viagens SA, Brazil's largest listed
Tiger is one of the largest investors in Brazilian startups,
owning stakes in companies such as fintech Nubank Brasil SA and
e-commerce venture N2com Internet SA, known by the shoe
retailing brand Netshoes.
Other Decolar.com shareholders include Expedia Inc
and investment firms General Atlantic LLC, Sequoia Capital LLP,
Insight Venture Partners LLC and Accel Partners Management LLP.
According to the sources, Decolar.com was valued last year at
$1.4 billion when Expedia bought a stake of about 20 percent for
(Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)