PARSIPPANY, NJ-Cendant Corp. announced yesterday that it’s planning to spin off its Travel Distribution Services division to shareholders, a move that could occur by October. But a possible alternative sale of the division is a possibility, with company officials indicating that they have hired Citigroup, JPMorgan and Evercore Partners to shop the unit around.

“As a result of receiving a number of unsolicited indications of interest to acquire TDS, the company has decided to further explore other strategic alternatives,” says Cendant chairman/CEO Henry Silverman, in a prepared statement. “The company’s decision to consider a sale in addition to pursuing the spin-off is due, in part, to the fact that a sale of TDS is not expected to result in a material tax liability, as would a sale of Cendant’s other divisions.”

The move comes in the wake of Cendant’s recent decisions to spin off its real estate group, now know as Realogy Corp., and its hotel group, since renamed Wyndham Worldwide. As reported earlier, the Cendant name itself will eventually be retired.

The move regarding TDS, which itself is being renamed Travelport, also comes in the wake of a new management team for the division, headed by former Continental Airlines chairman Gordon Bethune and former Continental COO Jeff Clarke. TDS’ brands include Orbitz, Galileo and GTA (Gullivers Travel Associates).

If TDS is in fact sold, “it is currently anticipated that the net cash proceeds…would be utilized primarily to reduce the debt anticipated to be incurred by TDS, Realogy Corp. and Wyndham Worldwide to pay off the public corporate debt of Cendant,” says a statement issued by the company. “Whether TDS is sold or spun off, Cendant still intends to retire, redeem or repay all of its outstanding corporate debt in connection with the separation plan.”

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