Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Kayak Prices Long-Delayed $100 Million IPO at $25 a Share

It’s been a long time in coming, but today Kayak, the hotel- and flight-search provider, announced that it has set the range at which its shares will open between $22 and $25 on the Nasdaq Exchange, under the ticker symbol KYAK.

In updated filings with the SEC, Kayak said it will offer four million million shares and seek to raise a maximum of $100.6 million, or about twice as much as in its initial filings, when it sought to raise $50 million.

The deal will be led by Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank Securities, with Piper Jaffray, Stifel Nicolaus and Pacific Crest participating as additional underwriters.

In the filing, Kayak also disclosed new financials for its most recent quarter. In the quarter ending March 31, it made a $4.15 million profit on sales of $73.3 million. That would translate into per-share earnings of 17 cents, or 11 cents on a diluted basis. That compares to a $6.9 million loss on $52.6 million in sales in the same quarter in 2011.

For the quarter ahead, Kayak said it expects to report sales of $74.5 million to $76 million, which would amount to growth of 31 to 34 percent. It said it expects to earn between $13 million and $14 million on an operating basis, which would amount to growth of between 133 percent and 151 percent.

The company posted a video and new prospectus on the site Retail Roadshow.

Today’s offering caps a process that began nearly 21 months ago when Kayak, based in Norwalk, Conn. filed its first S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in November of 2010. Last September, it put its plans on hold, at a time when the market seemed too volatile. It also found itself in an increasingly competitive market, particularly following Google’s $700 million acquisition of travel software giant ITA. Then came Facebook’s bungled IPO, and another delay.

The IPO will be a sweet payoff for Kayak’s many venture capital backers. It had raised a combined $223 million over four rounds, including a mammoth $196 million round in 2007 from Sequoia Capital, General Catalyst Partners and Accel Partners, most of which was used to acquire rival SideStep for about $200 million in cash and stock. TechCrunch covered the complicated deal at the time. AOL had been an early investor and led its Series A in 2004, also contributing to a subsequent B round that same year, but sold off its shares for about $19 million in 2010.

General Catalyst is Kayak’s biggest shareholder, with a pre-offering stake amounting to 10.15 million shares that — assuming a $25 offering price — would be worth almost $254 million. Sequoia Capital has six million shares, for a stake amounting to $150 million. Accel has 4.8 million shares, worth $120 million; and Oak Investment Partners has 3.6 million shares, worth about $90 million.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik