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Orbitz IPO Falls Flat

Shares in the long-awaited IPO fall flat after a roller-coaster first day of trading.
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Updated from 12:36 p.m.

Shares of online travel reservation company



Wednesday were flat after opening sharply above their offering price, in one of the most eagerly awaited IPOs of the year.

Recently, shares were up 4 cents, or 0.1%, to $26.04, after a 15% surge when trading started around noon. At one point, shares actually fell below their offering price.

Orbitz sold 12.18 million shares at $26 a share -- increasing the original size of the deal from 11 million shares and the proposed range from $22 to $24 a share -- valuing the offering at $317 million.

Bucking the trend of recent successful public offerings, Orbitz has not had a profitable year. The company earned $4 million on revenue of $64.4 million in the quarter ended Sept. 30, but for the first nine months of the year reported a loss of $1.4 million. In 2002, it had a loss of $19 million.

Of the total shares being offered, Orbitz is selling 4 million shares while 8.18 million shares are being offered by certain stockholders. The company said it plans to use the approximately $93.9 million in net proceeds for working capital and general corporate purposes.

Major airlines


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will cash out of most of their original investment.

In 2001, the airlines backed Orbitz's launch of a Web site to establish a distribution channel for air travel suppliers as a way to access the growing online travel industry.

Orbitz's main competitors include


, whose shares were recently bought back by parent



, and


, which is owned by

Sabre Holdings

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