Why Orbitz Worldwide Inc. Shares Dipped

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Orbitz Worldwide  (NYSE: OWW  ) fell as much as 11% today after the company announced a secondary stock offering by a current shareholder. 

So what: The online travel merchant said an affiliate of Travelport would sell 7.5 million Orbitz shares, or about 7% of the total shares outstanding. Underwriters will also have a 30-day option to purchase an additional 1.125 million shares. Unlike most secondary offerings, this will not dilute current shareholders, nor will Orbitz receive any proceeds from the sale. 

Now what: Since the sale will not dilute shareholders, today's sell-off seems connected to the usual investor suspicion about a large shareholder's sale. However, Travelport owns nearly 50% of shares outstanding, so it is by no means divesting all of its holdings in the travel dealer. Orbitz shares have also been highly volatile over the last couple of years as the company attempts to get back on track; that situation may be exaggerating today's fluctuations. While a large sale isn't a positive sign, this news seems to be mostly noise. Investors would be better off focusing on Orbitz's fundamentals, which will ultimately determine the future of the stock.

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Jeremy Bowman

Fool since 2011. I write about consumer goods, the big picture, and whatever else piques my interest. Follow me on Twitter to see my latest articles, and for commentary on hot topics in retail and the broad market.

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