HomeAway has today filed a registration statement in the US for a $230 million initial public offering.
The vacation rental company says one of its goals is to increase brand awareness of the fast-growing vacation rental business.
Book runners for the offering are Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.
"The principal purposes of this offering are to create a public market for our common stock, obtain additional capital, facilitate our future access to the public equity markets, increase awareness of our company among potential customers and improve our competitive position," HomeAway says.
HomeAway's move toward an initial public offering comes five months after US-based metasearch engine Kayak's own announcement in November 2010, validating what many hope is a return to the money markets by tech-led travel companies.
HomeAway adds: “We believe many adults in the United States lack familiarity with the vacation rental industry due to the fragmentation of the market. We intend to increase our investment in marketing, which we believe will enhance our category and brand awareness.”
A HomeAway IPO had been rumored some time, following the company’s back to back Super Bowl TV commercials and online campaigns touting vacation rentals as an appealing alternative to hotel stays.
In the Securities and Exchange Commission registration statement, a precursor to an IPO, HomeAway says its subscription model for vacation rental owner listings is “highly predictable and profitable.”
Its listing renewal rate was 75.9% in 2010, says the company, which generated $51.5 million in free cash flow last year.
HomeAway says it made $16.9 million in profit in 2010 on $152.89 million in revenue, a 31.9% jump. Net income in 2009 was $7.6 million.
HomeAway's strategy is to expand internationally. Its current brands include: HomeAway, VRBO, VacationRentals.com, FeWo-Direkt, Holiday-Rentals, Homelidays, Abritel.fr, Aluguetemporada, BedandBreakfast.com, Clearstay, CyberRentals.com, Entech, Escapia, First Resorts, InstantSoftware, OwnersDirect, PropertyPlus, Rezovation, V12, Villanao.fr, and Webervations.
Of HomeAway's 781 employees, only 287 are located in the U.S.
Founded in 2004 in Austin, Texas, HomeAway began operations in 2005 and has acquired 15 businesses along the way and become a vacation rental player with global reach.
In fact, 37.9% of its revenue in 2010 was generated outside the U.S., with 36.6% from Europe and 1.3% from Latin America.
Citing Media Metrix stats, HomeAway says its websites attracted 220 million visits in 2010 and the company averages 9.5 million unique monthly visitors.
The words "Super Bowl" do not appear in HomeAway's registration statement. However the company discloses that it spent $39.4 million and $58.3 million in 2009 and 2010, respectively for sales and marketing.
HomeAway has raised nearly $300 million since its founding, including an investment from Google Ventures said to be in the $25 million range.