Expedia reportedly set to raise $1 billion from private equity firms as travel stalls

(GeekWire File Photo)

Seattle travel giant Expedia Group is in “advanced talks” to sell about a $1 billion stake to private equity firms Apollo Global Management and Silver Lake, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The cash would help Expedia get through an economic crisis that has ravaged its business amid travel restrictions across the globe. The company could alternatively opt for a public-debt offering, WSJ noted.

Expedia saw its stock price fall more than 50% last month amid the outbreak and travel restrictions around the globe. RBC said last month that Expedia is one of the “most at-risk names in terms of exposure to COVID-19.”

Expedia Group includes brands and sites such as Vrbo, Travelocity, Orbitz, HomeAway and many others, in addition to the flagship Expedia.com.

Speaking to CNBC last week, Expedia Chairman Barry Diller doesn’t expect any sense of normalcy until at least the fall. He said Expedia is curbing its advertising spend by 80%.

Diller, who also oversees internet and media giant IAC, recently took over day-to-day operations at Expedia following the ouster of its CEO and CFO. Expedia laid off 12% of its workforce in February before the novel coronavirus outbreak. The company also moved into a sprawling new Seattle waterfront headquarters this past fall.

Silver Lake recently invested in Twitter and Airbnb, which is also suffering from the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting impact on travel.